Active duty military personnel are constantly preparing for deployment and their known absence makes them targets for identity theft. It’s imperative that in addition to preparing for the challenges involved in protecting others that they also prepare for their deployment when it comes to protecting their own identity. After all, think of the hassle involved in fixing a stolen identity and imagine doing it from an aircraft carrier. Here are just a few of the items on a military members’ personal protection to-do list.
- Minimize mail and know where it’s going. While deployed, military personnel may still have bills to pay. Married military members can have this taken care of by their spouse, but single service members don’t have that luxury. If not all accounts can be paperless and managed electronically, military personnel should visit the post office on their base and ensure their mail is forwarded to their unit.
- Insure belongings that are in storage. What does one do with his or her belonging during deployment? Are they stored in a friend’s basement? A storage unit? Whatever the decision, it’s important to purchase some form of renters’ insurance to protect physical assets, as well as to insure any vehicles that won’t be driven with some level of comprehensive coverage to protect against loss due to fire, theft, and other unforeseen events.
- Secure personally identifying information. No matter where one’s material belongings are stored, an additional degree of separation and protection is needed for important documents, such as one’s birth certificate, social security card, and passport. Safe deposit boxes provide a secure haven for important personally identifying information and other small valuables.
- Request an ‘active duty alert’. One of the most proactive steps members of the military can do to protect themselves from identity theft is to contact the credit bureaus and request that an “active duty alert” be placed on their credit report. This alert will require extra verification steps to be taken before credit is opened under their name. The alert lasts for one year, and can be renewed in the event of extended deployments.
Resources for military personnel who suspect their identity may have been stolen are available. We, at ProtectMyID offer a sincere thank you and Happy Memorial Day to our country’s selfless servicemen and women.