A Washington D.C. area company that began as a purveyor of Groupon-style "daily deals" has changed direction to offer military veterans discounts while protecting the interests of businesses that serve them.
TroopSwap has begun a digital identification service called Troop ID for vets so companies that offer them deals on consumer goods and services won't be duped by military service posers who try to take advantage of the discounts, the Washington Post reported. Not only is the company gaining attention from major corporations to small businesses, but the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and other federal agencies have expressed an interest in using Troop ID. The program will help them verify the identity of those applying for veteran benefits to make sure they are eligible for job training and education assistance. Troop ID applies to both current and former military personnel. "A byproduct of delivering [discount programs] more efficiently and more securely is that more brands will actually set up military discounts because they see it can be done in a secure fashion," TroopSwap co-founder Brad Hall told the newspaper. Hall, who served in the Iraq War, knows firsthand the struggle that returning vets have re-adjusting to civilian life. Added to that is some difficulty in proving their military status once active-duty ID cards are handed in for separation papers. The interim period before benefits are secured makes veterans and businesses that serve them vulnerable to fraud and possible ID theft. How it works
TroopSwap's verification process starts when service members register their personal information with Troop ID's website. The company verifies it against a government database, than acts as an intermediary so individual companies cannot gain access to the data. A Troop ID technology provides online retailers with a window in which veterans and active-duty service members may enter their user name and password so they can qualify for the retailer's discounts and special offers. TroopSwap also continues to offer military families specials through daily deals. One of Troop ID's early retail partners is Under Armour, which has provided discounts on sports apparel to military personnel for about 10 years. Until now, the company took service members at their word for in-store purchases and couldn't verify their status online. Company e-commerce vice president Dave Demsky said Troop ID guarantees the perks are going to people who are truly eligible for them.