View Full Version : Helmets, Flak Jackets don’t protect identity

07-29-06, 06:33 AM
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (July 28, 2006) -- With Marines in a continuous rotation of deployments during the Global War on Terror, being away from can produce many hardships.

Ensuring families, vehicles and homes are all protected are just a few items on a seemingly endless list of things to prepare before flying across the world. One thing many Marines don’t think of is protecting their identity.

With Marines of 2nd Marine Logistics Group going for as long as a year at a time, it can make them an easy target for identity theft.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, nearly 10 million Americans are victims of identity theft with military service members being among the most vulnerable.

This may be something to worry about, but the FTC has put into place ‘Active Duty’ alerts to defend you from identity theft, so Marines can worry about defending their country instead of their wallets

These ‘Active Duty’ alerts were put into effect by amendments to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, according the Federal Trade Commission Web site.

When this alert is put on your credit report, it requires the person to send definite proof of identity such as a social security card or driver’s license before granting credit in your name. This can be done through your financial institution.

Before granting credit, the financial institution may try to contact the Marine for verification. This may be impossible in a deployed atmosphere, but can be alleviated through a power of attorney.

Also, the Fair Credit Reporting Act has put into effect free credit reports for deployed service members, which normally cost up to $30, to watch for any fluctuations in your finances, according to the FTC Web site.

According to Defenselink.mil, an investigation conducted five years ago by the secret service and military investigation organizations, focused on hundreds of credit cards opened in the names of deployed service members to include 175 generals and admirals.

This investigation led to the arrest of 113 individuals who used the social security numbers of military members racking bills as high as $37,000 in Internet spending.

Recently, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service took the last four digits of service members’ social security numbers off their annual Leave and Earning statements, adding another safeguard to protect service members.

According to the FTC Web site, the number one thing Marines can do to protect themselves from identity theft is watch their credit reports and safeguard their personal documents such as bills.

If you suspect you have been a victim of identity theft, the FTC recommends immediately closing all accounts that are in question.