It’s always heartwarming to see stories about civilians honoring military members who are currently serving or who have served by thanking them for their service, giving up their seat on a plane, having special homecoming surprises, or even for companies who give special offers to military members. Members of the military do deserve this recognition for their selfless act of serving our country.
Unfortunately due to the recognition and exclusive discounts that military members can receive, stolen valor stories are becoming more and more apparent. It’s disheartening to see people put on a military uniform and pretend to have served just to receive a discount or a free giveaway. While it is morally wrong to do such a thing, it is also extremely disrespectful to those who currently serve or who have served. Since stolen valor has become an issue all across the United States, we recently surveyed over 190 military members and their families to find out their thoughts on this sensitive topic. Here’s some insight into what they had to say.
In 2013, President Obama signed an amended version of the federal Stolen Valor Act, making it a criminal offense to falsely represent oneself as military personnel, veteran, or recipient of a military honor in order to receive money, property, or benefits. Committing stolen valor is punished by a $1,000 fine and imprisonment of no more than one year. 92% of those surveyed were aware of the Stolen Valor Act and 96% believe that the punishments for committing Stolen Valor are fair.
Many of the stories we see in the news about the Stolen Valor Act involve a veteran or civilian trying to do the right thing through publicly confronting suspected violators and recording their reactions to spread the word about their crime. Here is an example:
It can be very hard to watch some of these videos due to the blatant disrespect the false military members show to the military community. Although only 28% of those surveyed said they like watching the Stolen Valor videos online, 62% are in support of those who take the time to out suspected violators of the act, and 31% believed that it is ok for veterans to out suspected violators, but not citizens.
SheerID Stolen Valor Survey
57% also thought that Stolen Valor videos have prompted states to pass stricter Stolen Valor laws. Interestingly enough, more than 15 states have passed their own complimentary Stolen Valor Acts to make the federal law easier to enforce and also to enact stiffer penalties since 2013. Just this week Massachusetts announced they would be taking the steps to enforcing Stolen Valor laws even further.
At SheerID, we are committed to making sure only qualified members of the military community can redeem offers that are intended exclusively for service members and their families. With all of the movement by the government and the military community regarding the Stolen Valor Act we are looking forward to seeing more states enforcing stricter laws and hoping for a positive outcome for the military community in the future.
Photo credit: Flickr User DVIDSHUB