What to know and What to do
Is someone using your personal or financial information to make purchases, get benefits, file taxes, or commit fraud? This is identity theft. Identity theft can disrupt your life, hurt your finances, and even put your security clearance for the military at risk.
Active Duty Alert
It is very important to put what is called an active duty alert on your credit report if you’re deployed and don’t expect to seek new credit. The alert requires creditors to take steps to verify your identity before granting credit in your name. It lasts a year but can be renewed for the length of your deployment. To do this you can contact the fraud department of one credit bureau; they must contact the other two.
An active duty alert gives you a benefit that you don’t get with a standard year-long fraud alert: the credit bureaus take your name off of their marketing lists for pre-screened credit offers for two years – unless you ask them to add you back on.
Tips and step to take:
Step 1: Get your free credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Go to annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.
Step 2: Review your reports. Make note of any account or transaction you don’t recognize. This will help you report the theft to the FTC and the police.
Step 3: Report identity theft to the FTC.
Step 4: Contact us to create an Identity Theft Report and create a recovery plan.
Step 5: Notify your commanding officer. You don’t want them caught off guard if they get calls looking for you, trying to collect on debts that aren’t yours.
We hope this information we shared can help inform you and prepare you in the event that you ever run into identity theft while in the military.