Military member who are deployed are at a higher risk of credit card fraud or identity theft, because it is harder for them to receive notifications about account activity and it may be more difficult for the service member to monitor their accounts. In order to help combat this problem, deploying military have the option to set a free active duty credit alert on their credit reporting files.
How To Set Up An Active Duty Credit Alert
Contact one of the three major credit reporting agencies at these phone numbers:
- Equifax 1‑800‑525‑6285
- Experian 1‑888‑397‑3742
- TransUnion 1‑800‑680‑7289
You will be asked to provide some sort of government-issued identification to verify your identity.
What Will Happen
Once your active duty credit alert is in place, any potential lender is required to take extra steps to verify that you are actually requesting the credit. This typically happens via a telephone call to the number you've designated in your active duty credit alert request, though the lender may take other steps to verify identity.
In addition, you will be removed from the marketing lists that are used to send pre-screened credit and insurance offers. Less mail and less opportunity for fraud - two good things!
Assign A Personal Representative
Because there are situations in which you DO want to open credit while deployed, and you may not be available for verification, you may designate a personal representative who has the legal authority to act on your behalf with regard to the credit alert. If you choose to designate a personal representative, you should make sure this information is on file with the credit reporting bureau at the time you make the credit alert request.
How Long Will It Last?
An active duty credit alert remains on your file for one year or until you request that it be removed. You may renew the credit alert at the end of the year.
The removal from the pre-screened credit card offers should remain in effect for two years.
Unless you know that you'll be making a credit purchase during deployment, an active duty credit alert is a free, simple way to make it a little harder for criminals to use your credit. Even if you are making a credit purchase, an active duty credit alert may be a good choice. It doesn't prevent you from obtaining credit but just makes it a teensy bit harder.
Deployment comes with enough challenges. Take the worry about credit fraud off the list with an active duty credit alert.