Attorney General Mike Beebe issued a consumer alert regarding a new service available to help military personnel protect their credit records while they are deployed around the world protecting their fellow Americans.
All members of the military may now request an “active-duty” designation for their credit records while away from their usual duty station. Active-duty designation will limit access to credit records and provide additional protection against identity theft for our Armed Forces.
“Identity thieves use no discretion in choosing their victims,” Beebe said. “Unfortunately, our men and women in uniform can be prime targets for ID theft while deployed stateside or overseas. They should not have to worry about monitoring their credit records while serving our country on active duty. This new safeguard will give our troops added credit protection while they are away from home.”
Military personnel can initiate their “active-duty” credit status by contacting any one of the three nationwide consumer credit-reporting bureaus. They are:
Equifax: 800-685-1111 or www.equifax.com
Experian: 888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742) or www.experian.com
Trans Union: 800-916-8800 or www.transunion.com
Identity thieves often operate by trying to open new credit-card accounts or other lines of credit under their victims’ names. Once an “active-duty” alert is put on a credit record, any attempt to open a new line of credit in that person’s name will be stopped until the credit bureau is able to directly confirm its legitimacy with the member of the military.
The “active duty” alert will remain on a credit record for one year. It may be renewed through the credit bureaus if a deployment lasts longer than a year and may be removed sooner if the deployment ends in less than a year.
This service is similar to the fraud alert that any consumer can place on his or her credit record if identity theft is suspected. By contacting any one of the three credit bureaus, a consumer may initiate these measures, and access to their credit records will be limited.
“While there is no way to completely insulate yourself from identity theft, fraud alerts can be a great tool when you suspect illegal activity,” Beebe said. “While all of us should closely monitor our credit histories, this new tool is specifically designed to give our military personnel some added peace of mind while on deployment.”
Beebe reminded all Arkansas consumers that they may now obtain a free copy of their credit report from each of the three credit bureaus every twelve months. For more information on free credit reports, call (877) 322-8228 or apply online at www.annualcreditreport.com.
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