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Fraud Alert

Fraud Alerts

Identity theft and fraud are serious crimes that affect the credit rating and financial well-being of many servicemembers, their families and veterans. The theft occurs in several ways but always involves access to your personal financial information. Due to frequent moves, overseas deployments and transitioning to civilian life, the risk of identity theft is increased for military personnel and veterans. Each of the alerts below can help protect your identity and credit rating:

ACTIVE DUTY CREDIT MONITORING

While on deployment, servicemembers should:

  • Request and review your credit report at least once a year.
    • However, you can review your credit report up to three times a year at no charge by requesting a credit report from one of the three credit bureaus every four months.
  • Put a free “active duty alert” on your credit report.
    • It requires businesses to verify your identity before issuing new credit in your name.
    • The alert lasts one year, but can be extended depending on the length of deployment.
    • It also removes your name from pre-screened offers of credit for two years.
  • Place a “security freeze” on your credit report.
    • The security freeze means that your credit report cannot be shared with anyone such as potential creditors or insurance companies, without your permission.
    • It gives you more control over who looks at your credit file. Most companies will not open a new account without checking a consumer’s credit first, so if you have a security freeze on your account, this will prevent new accounts from being opened in your name.
    • You must contact each of the three credit reporting agencies to place a security freeze on your account, and can do so online, by phone or mail.
    • A security freeze can be lifted temporarily or removed permanently at any time.
    • The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows you to place a security freeze on your credit report free of charge.
    • A security freeze is the most secure way to protect your credit.

Active Duty Alert

An active duty alert can be placed on your credit report while you are deployed. This alert notifies lenders that you are on assignment away from your regular duty station. The lenders should verify your identity before approving new credit. You can designate a personal representative (a spouse or another designated person) who can act on your behalf to verify your identity. The alert remains in place for one year; you can place another alert on your credit report if needed. You or your designated representative can remove the active duty alert sooner than one year if desired. Also, placing the active duty alert on your credit report may reduce the number of pre-approved credit card offers you receive for two years. There is no fee to place an active duty alert on your credit report. When you place an active duty fraud alert with one credit bureau, the credit bureau that you contact must coordinate with the other two credit bureaus to ensure they place the active duty fraud alert on your credit report as well. For more information, visit www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0273-active-duty-alerts.

Fraud Alert

A fraud alert can be placed on your credit report if you suspect you are or may become a victim of identity theft. This alert advises lenders to take extra precautions before extending credit in your name. The alert will remain on your report for one year, but can be removed sooner at your request. There is no fee to place an initial fraud alert on your credit report. Placing an initial fraud alert also allows you to order one free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus. When you place a fraud alert with one credit bureau they must coordinate with the other two credit bureaus to ensure they place the fraud alert on your credit report as well. For more information, visit www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0275-place-fraud-alert.

Extended Fraud Alert

An extended fraud alert placed on your credit report means that you have been a victim of identity theft and filed an Identity Theft Report with one of the three credit bureaus. Lenders must verify your identity prior to issuing new credit in your name. As an added precaution, after placing the extended fraud alert on your credit report, creditors must remove your name from lists of pre-approved credit offers for five years. This alert will last for seven years, but can be removed sooner. By placing an extended fraud alert on your file, you are able to order two free credit reports within 12 months from each of the three credit reporting bureaus. When you place an extended fraud alert with one credit bureau they must coordinate with the other two credit bureaus to ensure they place the extended fraud alert on your credit report as well. For more information, visit www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0279-extended-fraud-alerts-and-credit-freezes.


Security Freeze

A security freeze (also known as a credit freeze) restricts access to your credit report, thus preventing new lines of credit from being opened in your name. The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows you to place a security freeze on your credit report free of charge. You will need to request the security freeze with each of the three credit bureaus and can do so online, by phone or by mail. You will not have access to your credit report but can have the security freeze lifted temporarily or removed any time. If the request is made online or by phone, the credit bureau must lift the freeze within one hour of your request. If the request is made by mail, the credit bureau must lift the freeze no later than three business days after receiving your request. This is the most secure way to protect your credit. NOTE: After receiving your freeze request, each credit bureau will provide a unique personal identification number (PIN) or password that you will need to lift the freeze by phone or mail. Keep this in a safe place. For more information, visit www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs.


Credit Bureaus

Below is the contact information for each of the three credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit report.


Equifax
www.Equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/
P.O. Box 105069, Atlanta, GA 30348-5069
1-800-685-1111

Experian
www.Experian.com/help
P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013
1-888-397-3742

TransUnion
www.TransUnion.com/credit-help
P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016
1-800-680-7289


Below is the contact information to place a security freeze on your report:


Equifax
www.Equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/
P.O. Box 105788, Atlanta, GA 30348-5788
1-800-685-1111

Experian
www.Experian.com/help/
P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013
1-888-397-3742

TransUnion
www.TransUnion.com/credit-help
P.O. Box 160, Woodlyn, PA 19094
1-888-909-8872



Adjusting to Civilian Life

Scams

Thank you for the service and commitment to our country and as residents of Florida. As veterans and active duty servicemembers you gladly accepted the responsibility to defend our shores and uphold our values when duty called. Unfortunately, businesses and scammers prey on military members and your families, taking advantage of your patronage. These list of scams will provide you with the information needed to identify and avoid falling victim to some of the most common tactics used by these fraudsters.


Scams Targeting Military Veterans


Scams Targeting Active Military Servicemembers