NEW YORK (MainStreet) — ID theft against military members on deployment is an epidemic. Indeed, a study from the Federal Trade Commission found that military members are victims of ID theft at twice the normal rate. As sad as it is, servicemen and women clearly need to take extra steps to protect themselves from ID theft. Here's how you and your family can protect yourself when you're on deployment.
Longer Deployments Mean More Opportunity
Ellie Kay -- a military wife, mother of veterans and the author of Heroes at Home (Bethany House, 2012), a book offering help for military families -- notes that one reason the military is at risk is because deployments are lasting much longer than before. However, there's a special option available for military members on deployment. "They should put an active duty alert on their accounts," Kay says. What that means is that when a Social Security number is being used, there's an alert on it. Potential lenders will know that there's the possibility of ID theft, because the person in question is on active deployment. "It's not as easy to go into Lowe's and open an account on that number, because there's an alert," she says. To get new credit, the person will need to have the correct military ID. You can put the alert in with all three major credit bureaus, but one will generally notify the others.
Families Are Often the Perpetrators