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New IDs put personal info at the Exchange on a 'need to know' basis

DALLAS -- Social Security numbers are enjoying the top-secret clearance they have always deserved as the Department of Defense officials have removed the nine digit number from identification cards issued after June 1.

Authorized Exchange shoppers who receive the new ID will notice some changes when writing a check, putting something on layaway or making a return at an Army & Air Force Exchange Service facility.

The absence of the Social Security number, the only number used by DOD for financial transactions to recover lost funds, means that cashiers will scan the new IDs to facilitate certain financial transactions.

"We've spent a great deal of time upgrading our systems to recognize the new IDs and provide these services without interruption," said Chief Master Sgt. Jeffry Helm, the Exchange's senior enlisted advisor. "The scanning process not only is more convenient, but also helps protect service members' personal data. So whether the ID is old or new, authorized shoppers have the proper 'security clearance' to exercise their Exchange benefit and shop with peace of mind."

While not a new process, scanning for the DOD ID number to complete select transactions assists in guarding the investment authorized shoppers make in their communities. A military command with a retail mission, two-thirds of Exchange earnings are paid to morale, welfare and recreation programs.

Procedures that protect assets helped Exchange officials to contribute more than $2.4 billion to quality-of-life improvements over the past decade in support of youth services, armed forces recreation centers, arts and crafts, aquatic centers, golf courses and more.