Stateside, Veterans Face Prospect of Identity Theft and Onerous Loans

The exploitation of veterans surely has to rank as one of the more vile manifestations of human behavior, particularly in a nation that consistently holds its military members in high regard. Sadly, recent reports have brought to light unsavory practices, both illegal and legal, that have taken advantage of our heroes in uniform.

Hard upon the heels of the ides of November, a report surfaced that technology has made it possible to scan any Veterans Administration identification card issued since 2004 with a smartphone equipped with a bar code app to obtain the cardholder’s Social Security number. Once the veteran’s SSN appears on the screen of a smartphone belonging to a person with a penchant for rapaciousness, he or she possesses one of the more valuable assets an identity thief can pilfer.

And while the foregoing news is deplorable enough — and clearly constitutes an illegal act — another form of exploitation, albeit a legal one, has also turned up in the news in the week before Thanksgiving. In spite of the fact that Congress passed the Military Lending Act in 2006, which was crafted to protect members of the U.S. armed services from predation by payday lenders, the law is not all-encompassing.

The loopholes in the Military Lending Act are proving to be as wide as a jet parked at the Kellogg Air National Guard Base. Some short-term loans are exempt from its 36 percent interest rate ceiling, including those for more than $2,000, loans with terms of longer than 91 days and auto-title loans with 181-day-plus durations.

Many veterans have gone deeper into debt and, in some cases, lost their homes to foreclosure after taking out loans with exorbitant interest rates. These run as high as 40 percent. Such pressures should not fall on the shoulders of our veterans, and they could not have been what the sponsors of the Military Lending Act had in mind.

Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC fights for veterans rights. We fight to make sure you get the benefits you deserve from the Department of Veterans Affairs. To learn more or contact a veterans lawyer, visit or call 800.693.4800

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