On Veterans Day, the White House launched a new Veteran Scam and Fraud Evasion (VSAFE) campaign and Task Force. The aim is to address widespread fraud and identity theft perpetrated against America’s veterans and their families. The administration deserves applause for taking on a growing problem. We must do more to protect our veterans, who have protected the American way of life. Last year alone, the Federal Trade Commission estimated there were more than 93,000 reports of fraud committed against military personnel and veterans — an alarming statistic revealing a new threat to those who have served.

As a third-generation soldier, this threat to my fellow veterans and service members is personal. We must commit to fight these threats and make the world a more trusted place for America’s veterans.

Military members and their families already face numerous barriers to accessing the benefits they have earned. As the White House points out, the military community is repeatedly targeted by predatory scammers through phishing attempts, robocalls and social media scams.

I founded to make life easier and safer for military families. Historically, veterans needed to carry around physical paperwork with sensitive personal information simply to get a discount or prove who they were. Veterans also needed to navigate different agencies or websites, create various logins, and prove their identities multiple times. has built a digital identity network that empowers individuals to prove their identity and group affiliations one time, while also controlling how their information is shared online. Today, more than 15 million members of the military community use’s portable login to easily and securely access benefits and services across the government, non-profit and private sectors.

As the VSAFE Task Force approaches its work and, ultimately, takes steps to better protect veterans, here are some important considerations:

  • Add additional oversight to, and limitations on, data brokers. A recently commissioned report by Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy found that sensitive data about active-duty members of the military, their families and veterans is too easily compromised by data brokers. Data brokers sell sensitive information with few internal controls to identify purchasers, and little to no oversight from the U.S. government. Policymakers should implement safeguards against data brokers and their practices of purchasing, collecting, storing and selling massive amounts of information on Americans without consent -- especially veteran and military families. Congress could consider comprehensive federal privacy legislation or restrictions against use of data brokers at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

  • Elevate the issue of fraud as a priority at the VA. Congress should pass the “Veterans Scam and Fraud Evasion Act,” which would establish a veterans scam and fraud evasion officer in the VA. The threat our veterans face is relentless. Having a dedicated officer at VA laser-focused on combating it is critical.

  • Adopt tools and processes that meet government standards and are proven to work. Today, the VA links the “easier than ever” post-9/11 GI Bill application to a fully verified and authenticated account to prevent an identity thief from being able to access a veteran’s benefits. The process used by at the VA adheres to guidance set forth by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The VA should continue to only use solutions that meet government standards and have a track record of protecting veterans and their families.

  • Offer veterans and military families choice about how to verify their identities and control their data. The VSAFE Task Force’s listening tour is a great first step. Our nation’s heroes deserve a seat at the table and input into an effective way forward. The VA login process can serve as a model for a successful implementation where users are provided a choice of services to verify their identities, leading to higher access rates, better customer experience, and high levels of trust.

  • Partner with the private sector on fraud prevention tool-kits, public communications and education campaigns that promote good cyber hygiene. The fraud threat landscape evolves quickly, and veterans and their families need access to the best information and tips to keep themselves safe. We do our best for our military families when government, business and nonprofit communities come together.

The VSAFE initiative represents a great first step, and is well-positioned to take action to prevent the threats veterans face from fraudsters and predatory actors. stands ready to contribute to this effort and share our experiences supporting over 15 million members of the military community in our network. Veterans all took an oath to protect the American way of life at any cost. Together, we can all take steps to elevate how we recognize their willingness to sacrifice, move these ideas into action, and demonstrate it’s our turn to protect them.

Blake Hall, is a third-generation soldier, and founder and CEO of McLean, Va.-based, which enables consumers to verify their identity once and login across websites without creating a new password or verifying their identity again. Fifteen federal agencies, 30 states and over 600 name-brand retailers use to verify the identity of customers.


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now