People who serve in the military have an increased risk of Identity theft and credit reporting errors
In 2021, service-members, veterans, and military family members reported nearly 50,000 cases of identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
It is exactly the fact that they serve that makes them easier prey for ID thieves, hackers, and credit scams.
People who serve in the military have an increased risk of identity theft
According to a recent Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) report, identity theft and credit report errors are becoming increasingly common issues for people in the military. These issues can have a significant impact on the financial well-being of military members and their families. Unfortunately, most service members are probably not aware of the increased risk that they face, but it is exactly the fact that they serve that makes them easier prey for ID thieves, hackers, and credit scams.
Why are service members more vulnerable?
One of the main reasons that military members are at an increased risk of identity theft and credit report errors is their frequent moves. Every time a service member is transferred to a new duty station, they must provide personal information to a variety of organizations, including banks, credit card companies, and utility providers. This can make it difficult to keep track of all of the accounts that have been opened in their name, and it also increases the chances of personal information being lost or stolen. This is because the more accounts you have to open, loans you have to apply for etc, the more chances there are for mistakes to occur on your credit report. The various missions the men and women of the military around the world are sent on necessitates this constant movement and creates opportunities for mistakes like mixed files (where information from multiple individuals is combined in a single report), or other credit reporting errors that can cause significant financial and personal damage to the very people who have sworn to protect us all.
Another issue that military members face is the fact that they are often targeted by scammers. These scammers may use a variety of tactics, such as posing as government officials or offering fake loans, in order to steal personal information from service members. In addition, many military members are deployed overseas, which can make it difficult for them to monitor their credit reports and detect any errors or fraudulent activity. The combination of being in government fixed-income jobs and frequently moving is exactly the kind of scenario that hackers and ID thieves are looking for.
Yet another problem for our service men and women is the fact that very many of them have to maintain security clearances. Just like gig-working Uber and Lyft drivers (frequent clients of ours), they have to keep their records clear to keep working and they are reviewed periodically, usually every year. And, just like the gig-workers, they can also lose their ability to earn due to mistakes on a credit report interfering with getting security clearance.
What can they do to protect themselves?
To help protect themselves from identity theft and credit report errors, military members should take a few simple steps. First, they should keep track of all of the accounts that have been opened in their name, and make sure to close any accounts that are no longer needed. They should also be cautious of any unsolicited phone calls or emails, and never provide personal information to someone they do not know. In addition, military members should consider freezing their credit while deployed, which can prevent anyone from accessing their accounts in any way without consent. They can also set up alerts on their credit reports to be notified of any changes to their credit score, which will help them detect any fraudulent activity.
Check your credit report regularly
It is also important to check credit reports regularly. By law, all consumers are entitled to one free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) annually. Service members should use this opportunity to check for any errors or fraudulent activity on their credit report.
In conclusion, military members are at an increased risk of identity theft and credit report errors due to the nature of their service and frequent moves. However, by taking a few simple steps and being vigilant, service members can protect themselves from these issues and maintain financial stability.
If you have reason to believe that there is erroneous or fraudulent information on your credit report, fill out the form below and get in touch with Consumer Attorneys, we know how to help!
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