For Your Benefit
For and about Hawaii's military

By Gregg K. Kakesako

Sunday, February 17, 2002

See also: In The Military

Identity theft a possibility
in filing discharge papers

Question: I recently read somewhere that veterans who register a copy of their discharge papers with the state are subject to identity theft. Is it safe to register a copy with the state of Hawaii?

Answer: It is true that identity theft networks across the country are now tapping into military records, stealing vets' personal information and racking up thousands of dollars of fraud in veterans' names. The whole purpose of registering a copy of your discharge form, or DD 214, with the state is to have one available should you misplace yours. The DD 214 is extremely important in applying for veteran benefits, from health care to burial benefits. The problem veterans are experiencing is that when you register your documents with a state Bureau of Conveyances, County Courthouse or other state agency, they become public record and can be accessed over the counter by anyone asking for them. This allows someone to obtain your personal information and use it primarily for credit card fraud.

Here in Hawaii, veterans are encouraged to register a copy of their DD 214 with the State Office of Veterans Services instead of the Bureau of Conveyances or other state agencies. While technically still a public record, OVS will release a copy only to the veteran, a member of his family or a veteran organization service officer who is assisting the veteran, and only when they show proof of identity and purpose for the document. OVS is on the first floor, E-Wing on the ocean/Diamond Head side of Tripler Army Medical Center. Call 433-0420 for more information.

If you have questions about your benefits as a veteran,
call Fred Ballard at the Veterans Affairs at 433-0049
or the Star-Bulletin at 529-4747.

Gregg K. Kakesako can be reached by phone at 294-4075
or by e-mail at

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