(BBB) – If you’re a military service member on active-duty and getting ready to deploy overseas for an extended period of time, it’s important to protect your identity and that of your family while you are away.
The FTC reported in its Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book 2020, released in February of this year, that identity theft cases jumped from 650,523 in 2019 to 1,387,615 in 2020 – more than double year over year.
Within that number, military personnel have been specifically targeted by scammers. The FTC also reports that active-duty service members are 76% more likely than other adults to report that an identity thief misused an existing account, such as a bank account or credit card, and three times as likely to have money taken from those accounts.
So, how can you protect yourself and your family from identity theft while you are deployed?
The best thing to do put an Active-Duty Alert on your Credit reports while you are away. Once in place, creditors have to take specific steps before granting any credit in your name. Here are some points to remember about this type of alert:
- It lasts for one year but can be renewed if you are still on deployment.
- You only have to contact one credit reporting agency to place your alert. That agency is then required to contact the other two on your behalf.
- Equifax – 800-685-1111
- Experian – 888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742)
- Transunion – 888-909-8872
- One additional perk: The credit bureaus will also take your name from prescreened credit card offers for two years. You can always ask to have your name added back before then.
Source: FTC.gov: United States Federal Trade Commission, www.ftc.gov – not subject to copyright protection. 17 U.S.C. 403.& IRS.gov.
For more information check out the FTC’s How to Request an Active-Duty Alert or Tips for Using Credit Bureaus to Help Protect Your Financial Accounts from the IRS. Source: United States Federal Trade Commission, www.ftc.gov – not subject to copyright protection. 17 U.S.C. 403.