What is the penalty for stolen valor

Results of the Military Survey on SheerID's Stolen Law of Valor

Posted on Nov 19, 2015 3 min reads

It is always heartwarming to see stories of civilians honoring service members who are currently serving or who have served by thanking them for their service, giving up their seat on an airplane, experiencing special surprises upon return home, or even for companies that serve the military Make special offers. Members of the military deserve this credit for their selfless act of serving our country.

Unfortunately, stolen bravery stories are becoming more and more apparent due to the recognition and exclusive discounts that military personnel can get. It is disheartening to see people don military uniforms and pretend they were just serving to get a discount or a free giveaway. While it is morally wrong to do such a thing, it is also extremely disrespectful to those who are currently serving or who have served. As stolen valor has become a problem in the United States, we recently interviewed over 190 service members and their families to find out their thoughts on this sensitive issue. Here's a sneak peek of what they had to say.

In 2013, President Obama signed an amended version of the federal Stolen Valor Act that made it a criminal offense to falsely portray yourself as a military person, veteran, or recipient of military honor for the purpose of money, property, or benefit. The commission of stolen valor is punishable by a fine of USD 1,000 and imprisonment for a maximum of one year. 92% of respondents were aware of the Stolen Valor Act, and 96% believe the penalties for committing stolen valor are fair.

Many of the stories we see on the news about the Stolen Valor Act involve a veteran or civilian trying to do the right thing by publicly confronting suspected violators and recording their reactions to spread the word about the crime. Here is an example:

It can be very difficult to watch some of these videos as the fake military members are manifestly disrespectful to the military community. Though only 28. no citizens.

SheerID Stolen Valor Survey

57% also believed that videos of stolen bravery led states to adopt stricter laws on stolen bravery. Interestingly, more than 15 states have passed their own free Stolen Valor Acts to make federal law easier to enforce and also to impose stricter penalties since 2013. Just this week, Massachusetts announced that it would take steps to further enforce the Stolen Valor laws.

At SheerID, we are only committed to this. Qualified members of the military community can redeem offers that are intended exclusively for service members and their families. With the entire government and military community moving towards the Stolen Valor Act, we look forward to more states enforcing stricter laws and hoping for a positive outcome for the military community in the future.


Photo credit: Flickr user DVIDSHUB


by Madeline Böhmer