Skip to comments.Risk of Identity Theft in the Military? (Vanity)
Posted on 04/30/2010 10:23:15 AM PDT by paterfamilias
My son starts SERE training next week. We were talking about it the other day, and I asked him if during the captivity portion if he has a separate service number to give out during interrogation or if the military is still using the social seurity number.
When he answered that they use the SSN, I asked him if there is concern about identity theft, especially since the SSN is given out fairly frequently and is present on most of his paperwork.
Does anybody have any thoughts about the risk of identity theft from documents, etc., in the military?
I told him to consider subscribing to LifeLock or some similar service.
Tell your son 'good luck' in SERE. I went through in 1969 and still have dreams about it. Not good dreams.
That and the bar-code on the back of the ID (Geneva Convention) card is supposed to have all sorts of personal information as well. Encrypted, they say, but still, would you trust the bad guys to not break the encryption?
I was at SERE course in the past and identity theft is not going to be/and never will be a concern. Your son has no worries at all. Period.
He won’t be asked his SSN in SEREs school.
(No previous AQ captives have used a US captive’s SSN to go on a HSN spending spree.)
They used to stencil my SSN all over my duggle bags.
They’ve probably changed that now.
However, military personnel data is about the least secure out there.
Unless you actually try to get your own records.
Then it’ll take years and they’ll tell you “they all burned up”.
I am an IT security professional. Simply put, it is not possible in modern society to function within that society and NOT give up some information. Like most employers, the US Military does not just hand out information about their members.
Life lock is not .... bad. It is a fairly good identity MISS USE detection. However, it will not identify identity EXPOSURE. If you son is in the military, I doubt unauthorized exposure is what you are worried about at the moment. Since you son is in SERE training, that means that he seems to be attracted to black bag work. In that case, exposure may be more of an issue down the road.
If your local community or police offer one, take a course on basic identity protection. Search for yourself on the Internet. If you can be found by you ... others can find you as well. Remove accounts you don’t use. I HIGHLY recommend the complete removal and deletion of any Facebook, twitter, or other social networking account. Get a VERY good commercial cross-cut shredder and use it for all of your throw away emails, credit card offers, bills etc. Make of photo copy of all of your credit card, passports, hotel cards, car rental cards, etc. Put the photocopy in a fire safe at home. This is so that if you lose your wallet, you can call the card company and close those cards right away.
In short, there are some very basic things that you and your son can do that will make it difficult for anyone to try and steal your identity.
SERE school is the least of your kid's problems when it comes to identity theft in the military. It has gotten better, but you still can't blow your nose without giving your SSN in the military. I went to NAS Oceana in the late 90's and had my identity compromised. It could have been the staff at billeting, the guys handling my flight gear, the garbage men doing dumpster diving, or the people handling our security clearances. I won't ever know, but there were at the time 8 different groups of criminals operating on that base.
Your kid is at risk of identity theft just by being in the military, but SERE school isn't where it is going to happen.
One more thing. When I went to SERE, in the POW camp they immediately gave us a war criminal number.
You still need SSN, but at least it’s not on the ID cards anymore. It’s in the chip on the card, but you need a PIN to access it.
But tell him good luck in SERE. He’s going to need it.
I guess I didn’t explain myself clearly.
I am not worried about identity theft in SERE; the SERE was just the occasion for us to discuss the fact that his SSN is widely available on all his military documents, and that ID theft would be a possibility.
I am a civilian, and years ago, the institutions in which I have worked have stopped using the SSN on forms merely for identification purposes (e.g., attendance at a conference for continuing education credits).
I don’t believe the CAC has yet been broken. The PIN could be brute-forced, but it locks out after three tries and needs to be reset by someone with the right equipment and permissions, and those are tightly controlled.
My husband did 20 years military and is now fairly high ranking and in charge of a lot of people’s personal info on the base near us. He tells me he VERY RARELY, if at all, has seen an identity theft situation come about because of giving the number out for military reasons.
Our daughter was in, our son-in-law is in so that is more ‘current’ info if you will, and they never had a problem either.
I think he’s okay, but LifeLock is not very good. I would put fraud alerts on everything having to do with his credit and personal information and he should be fine.
He is among his own, not some slezebag democrats seeking his vote. Plus he can always have his top find out who obtained his SSN and once SERE is over go back to his barracks and get his weapon........
Conversely, good training experience if he in fact spills his history to an interogator. He has a target release date during SERE that should give him the strength to “survive”.
However, serious question, if crypto gear should be destroyed rather than captured, too include the tapes, why embed in the ID card information that could be, may be, cracked.
This is open encryption, known algorithms. Nothing secret about it, except the key.
But why have personal information on a Geneva Convention military ID card, the very card you carry into combat and produce when captured?
Makes no sense, as you know, all codes and encryptions are capable of being cracked and read.
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