When you joined the military, you probably thought the biggest dangers you would face would be while guarding a military base, patrolling in a Middle Eastern country, or manning an aircraft carrier overseas. However, your training has prepared you for this possibility, and you are confident that you will be able to protect American interests as you have pledged to do.
But who is protecting your interests back home? While you are away, you are just as vulnerable to identity theft as anybody else, and may be even more so considering that your accounts sit idle for long periods of time and you have no way to check for possible unauthorized activity. You should be aware, however, that there is a way to protect yourself from identity theft and it is provided to you under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). It’s called Active Duty Alerts.
How Active Duty Alerts Work
Whenever you are called to active duty, all you have to do is contact one of the three credit reporting agencies—Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion—and notify them that you are going on active duty. They will be required under the FCRA to place an Active Duty Alert on your credit report and to report your status to the other two agencies. Once this is done, you will be alerted if anyone attempts to open a line of credit in your name. This works as follows:
Someone uses your identifying information to try to open a credit card.
The loan officer or credit card company representative pulls your credit report to see if you qualify for credit.
The representative sees that you have an Active Duty Alert on your report.
The representative is now required to verify the identity of the person applying by either asking for a photo identification or by calling the contact number provided on the credit report.
You, or your designated stateside representative, will be called to verify the application for credit.
If a credit report is pulled by anyone for any reason, you will be notified.
The alert will be active for one year, unless you cancel it, and may be extended for another year if you have not returned from active duty within the year.
With these protections in place, you can be confident that your identity is safe while you are serving your country. If anything does go wrong, you may need the help of an attorney to straighten things out.
The Consumer Law Group Can Help Clear Your Credit
If you experience problems with correcting misinformation on your credit report, we are here to help. We are proud to work with members of the military from the Richmond area and look forward to hearing from you. Call our office at 804-282-7900.