Colorado Springs Notary - Leon Austin

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Army duffel bags: an invitation for identity theft

When I joined the Army back in 1972 I was issued a duffel bag.  It was supposed to be large enough to carry everything a soldier would need.  I can still hear the drill sergeant yelling at us: "If it won't fit in your duffel bag, you don't need it!"

Back then it was standard practice to have our name and serial number stenciled onto our duffel bag.  This was to help us identify it.

I never gave it much thought until a few days ago when I was cleaning out the closet and I pulled out my duffel bag.  I wanted to wash it because it's still in good condition after all these years.  That's one thing about military issue: it's made to last.  Even the ink on it was made to last, so my Army serial number is still visible.

Why should that concern me after all these years?

My Army serial number is my social security number.  Back in '72 no one gave any thought to computer hackers or identity theft.  I don't know if the Army still inscribes the social security number on duffel bags, but my guess is that they have discontinued the practice. 

Army duffel bagOne thing is for certain: I will find some permanent ink to block out the numbers on mine.

Comment balloon 7 commentsLeon Austin • November 29 2008 04:45AM
Army duffel bags: an invitation for identity theft
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