Navy: Troops can use partial ID number to get fuel coupons
October 16, 2007
NAPLES, Italy — Italy-based military members don’t need to provide their full Social Security numbers in order to redeem coupons for home heating fuel, Navy officials said.
The coupons that members and their families use to buy fuel for home heating require users to fill out an “identification number” when redeeming them. People who don’t have a separate military ID number, apart from their Social Security number, can sign just the last four digits of their Social Security numbers to avoid being victims of identity theft, said Lt. Cmdr. Wendy Snyder, a spokeswoman for Navy Region Europe.
Use of the last four digits does not violate any privacy issues, she said, and is an appropriate use for redeeming the coupons.
NATO personnel in Italy who are not U.S. members are assigned a separate number from a Social Security number, but U.S. personnel and their dependents are identified by their Social Security numbers on their Common Access Cards, or CACs.
In spite of the requirement for an identification number, there have been no reported incidents of possible fraud or identity theft, officials said.
“I am not aware of any identity theft complaints given to PSD due to use of the [Social Security number] on home heating fuel calls,” said Lt. John Leitner, officer in charge of Naples’ Personnel Support Detachment.
“Military personnel currently have no other assigned identification number other than their [Social Security number], but identity theft prevention is ongoing,” he said. One way is the use of just the last four digits on documents, such as standard naval letters, permanent-change-of-station orders and screening forms, he said.
“There was a time, quite a few years back, where members were assigned service numbers. I know of no plans to re-establish this policy, but it might prove very beneficial,” he added.
U.S. and NATO servicemembers in Italy use the coupons in exchange for petroleum products, from fuel for their vehicles to home heating petroleum. Through a four-decades-long agreement with Italian officials, NATO members are exempt from paying the fuel tax, roughly 35 percent to 40 percent of cost. Consumers use prepaid coupons, bought through the Navy Exchange or Army and Air Force Exchange Service, instead of paying with cash or credit cards.