When you serve in the military, you’ll receive a military ID card. Depending on what branch you’re serving in, what rank you hold, and your status as either an active duty soldier or a retired veteran, you’ll receive different kinds of ID cards. Even spouses and dependents are entitled to military ID cards to prove that they have a right to certain benefits.
Sadly, when benefits are involved, this gives people an incentive to create fake military ID cards and get perks they’re not actually entitled to or to scam civilians for money. Regardless, pretending to be in the military when you’re not is one of the most offensive things you can do.
Here, we’ll get into why someone might want a fake military ID, what kinds of military ID cards are most common, and how to spot a fake one.
Why Would Someone Fake a Military ID Card?
More often than not, retail stores, hotels, restaurants, and almost every business you can think of will offer members of the military pretty steep discounts. It’s the least they can do to say thank you for all the sacrifices they make to keep everyone safe and free.
So, criminals who are looking to get these extreme discounts will go to lengthy measures in order to secure a fake military ID card. They want all the perks without doing any of the work to earn them.
Another reason someone might forge a military ID is to scam people into giving them money, usually lovesick online daters who meet someone through the internet who’s pretending to be a soldier. People will create fake military IDs to convince the person on the other end that they’re in the military and need help with money or other kinds of terrible “catfish” scams.
Unfortunately, a quick Google search can lead you to countless options when it comes to buying a counterfeit military ID card. From eBay to Etsy, there are lots of scams creating false military IDs and it’s important to look out for fake cards.
Types of Military ID Cards
The first kind of military ID card to mention is called a Common Access Card (CAC). It’s about the size of your average credit card and is standard for active duty military members, Selected Reserve, civilian employees of the Department of Defense, and eligible contractors.
Four classes of CACs you should know about include:
- Armed Forces of the United States Geneva Conventions Identification Card
- U.S. DoD and/or Uniformed Services Identification Card
- U.S. DoD and/or Uniformed Services Geneva Conventions Identification Card for Civilians Accompanying the Armed Forces
- U.S. DoD and/or Uniformed Services Identification and Privilege Card
There is also what’s called a Uniformed Services Identification Card. Military veterans and family members could be carrying one of the following types of ID:
- DD Form 2 (Reserve)
- DD Form 2 (Retired)
- DD Form 2 (Reserve Retired)
- DD Form 1173
- DD Form 1173-1
- DD Form 2765
- DoD Civilian Retiree Card
Check out the U.S. Identification Manual to help get yourself familiar with the different kinds of military ID.
How to Spot a Fake Military ID Card
If you’re hoping to spot the differences between a fake military ID and a real one, there are a few steps you need to take.
First, you have to know what to look for. Studying the Identification Manual can help you understand what each form of ID looks like.
Then, compare the ID you received to a military ID that you know to be valid.
You should also look for misspellings and ask for another form of ID if you’re unsure.
If you’re only seeing a photo of the military ID from someone you met online, a good way to assume that it’s a fake military ID is if they’re asking you for money. No one who’s really in the military will be asking for money from someone they’ve never met in person. Active duty soldiers get a decent wage and are taken care of by the Department of Defense, so don’t fall for these money scams.
There aren’t perfect methods for verifying military ID, or really any kind of ID for that matter, especially with only a quick glance if you work at a restaurant or retail establishment looking to give someone a discount.
If you have the time, there are online resources to help verify the identity of military service members such as the Defense Manpower Data Center’s (DMDC) military verification service or signing up for verification services like ID.me.