Tips for military families to combat identity theft amid life transitions

It’s summer, peak moving season for military servicemembers and their families. You’ve got enough on your plate without having to worry about identity theft. But the reality is scammers are getting more and more clever with their tactics to swindle members of the military community.

In fact, five years of identity theft data reported to the FTC on shows that active duty servicemembers are 76% more likely to report that an identity thief misused an existing bank or credit card account. So, here’s the BLUF, the bottom-line up front: Protect your identity by protecting your personal information.

Whether you’re moving, deploying, or simply enjoying your summer plans, protect yourself by following these rules of engagement:

Track your bank account activity. Check to see if your bank offers alerts for every transaction or transactions over a certain amount. Many banks have mobile apps that let you report lost or stolen debit cards and unauthorized transactions immediately.

Lock or freeze cards you’re not using. Identity thieves can’t misuse your debit and credit cards if they’re on hold. Mobile apps give you quick access to lock and unlock your cards as needed.

Sign up for free credit and identity monitoring. The Free Electronic Credit Monitoring for Active Duty Military Rule gives you access to free services like notifications whenever there’s activity on your credit reports. Add an active duty alert to your credit report to require creditors to take extra steps to verify your identity before granting credit in your name.

If you suspect identity theft, report it to the FTC at Help us spread the word by sharing this post using #MilConsumer2022 on Facebook and Twitter.

By Terri Miller, Federal Trade Commission

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