November 29, 2001
I just read an email from a senior enlisted in my reserve unit. I'll say this first, if you are ex-active duty, or are about to become so, DO NOT file a copy of your DD-214 with your local county courthouse. For years, PSD has suggested doing so to servicemembers seperating from active duty. This makes it easy to get a certified copy later if you ever lose your original. Well, here is a clue. Don't lose your original. The story is scary, and goes like this. A retired E-9 was contacted by a large financial corporation. The reason they contacted him is because someone was trying to cash a large check written to a person with a "foreign sounding" name. It was almost $10,000, and upon further investigation, they determined that some address mismatches warranted stopping payment and contacting this person. He reported the details to law enforcement and they started an investigation. Eventually they arrested a lawyer and confiscated his laptop. On it were the names and SSN's of several thousand retired sevice members. Further research indicated that it would be very easy to get a replacement MILITARY ID CARD using nothing more than certified copy of your DD-214, obtainable at the county courthouse as a matter of public record. Guess what terrorists could do with a military ID card? Ok, don't. I am pretty sure that some things will change, especially at PSD when they are advising retiring and seperating military members. Identity theft sucks. It really, really sucks when the target is someone that spent between 3 and 30 years defending America.