The members of the U.S. Armed Forces face many obstacles in their chosen line of work. Surprisingly, one such obstacle is identity theft. In fact, active duty service members file identity theft complaints at much higher rates than civilian consumers. In this article, we examine identity theft and the U.S. Armed Forces.
Military Personnel are at High Risk for Identity Theft
According to the Federal Trade Commission, active duty servicemembers are approximately 76% more likely than others to report the misuse of an existing account by an identity thief. Further, active military personnel are nearly three times as likely as other people to report that an identity thief used a debit card or other electronic means to illegally withdraw funds directly from a bank account. This indicates that members of the military experience theft from their financial accounts at much greater rates than the general population. However, military personnel are also approximately 20% more likely to report that their personal information was misused to open a new account, such as a credit card account.
Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft
Given the fact that members of the U.S. Armed Forces are more likely than the general population to be victims of financial theft and identity theft, it is important for all members of the military to take steps to protect their personal information. So, if you are a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, you should take the following steps to protect yourself from identity theft:
Regularly check your bank account(s): First, you should review your bank account(s) regularly. If you notice any unauthorized transactions, you should report this to your bank immediately.
Be wary of providing personal information over phone, email, or text: Next, you should be cautious about providing authentication information, including verification codes and PIN numbers, to anyone who contacts you via phone, email, or text—particularly if you didn’t contact them first.
Put an alert on your credit reports if you’re deploying: If you are deploying, you should consider putting an active-duty alert on your credit reports. Active-duty alerts last a year and require creditors to verify your identity before granting credit under your name. In fact, even if you aren’t deploying, you should consider placing a fraud alert on your credit reports. A fraud alert is a notice that alerts creditors that you are or may be a victim of identity theft or other fraud.
Contact a Consumer Class Action Lawyer
If you have had your identity stolen, you should take action as soon as possible. Identity theft is often caused by the negligence of companies that store your personal information. And when a company releases your personal information without your consent, you should be compensated for your losses. Please contact experienced consumer class action attorney Seth Lehrman today to schedule a free initial consultation.