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A despicable – but very real – method of identity theft is to target military personnel who are on active duty. The inability to respond to fraudulent activity on bank and credit card accounts make them vulnerable to misuse of their personal information that could go undetected for a long period of time.
Amendments to the Fair Credit Reporting Act allow members of the military who are away from their usual duty stations to place an "active duty alert" in their credit report to help prevent identity theft. The alert requires creditors to verify your identity before granting credit in your name.
According to the FTC, when you place an active duty alert, your name will also be removed from the credit reporting companies' marketing list for prescreened credit card offers. Exemption from the list expires after two years unless you specially ask to go back on the list before then.
To either place or remove an active duty alert, call one of the three consumer reporting companies listed below. Call only one. Each company is required to notify the other two when a request is received. The company will require you to provide appropriate proof of your identity, which may include your Social Security number, your name, address, and other personal information.
· Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; equifax.com
· Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742); experian.com
· TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; transunion.com