ITRC FACT SHEET 133 – The Military and Identity Theft
The ITRC suggests that active duty personnel consider using online banking services in order to monitor and track bank account activity. Please be aware of your environment (for example key loggers, spyware, shoulder surfing) when accessing accounts.
Placing an Active Duty Alert
An active duty alert is similar to a fraud alert in that it requires an inquiring creditor to verify that it is you who is attempting to open a line of credit. The difference is, unlike the 90 day fraud alert, this alert lasts for a year. Additionally, if you are deployed out of the country and cannot be contacted, you may appoint somebody you trust to act as your representative.
Visit the following link for further information on Active Duty Alerts by Defense Finance and Accounting Service:
Contacting CRAs by mail (see ITRC Solution 2 – CRA Contact Information)
- Experian: P.O. Box 9701, Allen, TX 75013-0949
- Trans Union: P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834
- Equifax:: P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0441
Send a letter asking for an Active Duty Fraud Alert to be placed and your credit report to be mailed to you (see ITRC Letter Form 133). Enclose the following items:
- A copy of your driver’s license or state identification card
- A copy of your Social Security card
- A copy of your military identification card
- A copy of your orders
- A copy of a bill that shows your address of record, if address is different from the address on driver’s license or state identification card
Contacting Credit Reporting Agencies by Website – Placing Alerts Online
Power of Attorney
Service members in the U.S. Military often consider granting a Power of Attorney to a spouse or a loved one before they are deployed. Although this can be a good idea, please be careful. There are three different categories of “Power of Attorney” which allow a person to act on your behalf and legally gain access to your information: General Power of Attorney, Special Power of Attorney, and Medical Power of Attorney.
Unfortunately, many service members have found out too late that the person they gave a General Power of Attorney to did not have their best interests in mind. They come home to find their bank accounts cleaned out, credit cards opened in their name, and other credit problems that are all legally possible due to a General Power of Attorney.
We suggest that you read the Explanation of Powers of Attorney put together by the Judge Advocate General office. This document on Powers of Attorney covers issues like: how to stay safe when filing a POA, what you will need to grant a POA depending on POA category, and how to revoke it when you are ready to. The ITRC strongly suggests that you consult with the Judge Advocate General office for Command Legal Assistance prior to granting any Power of Attorney.
Identity Theft Resource Center
- Toll-free, no-cost victim assistance: 888-400-5530 (U.S. only)
- Office number: 858-693-7935 M-F, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (PT)
- ITRC Fact Sheet 124 – Fraud Alerts and Credit Freezes
Federal Trade Commission website:
- Facts for Consumers – Military Personnel
For further information visit the following links:
- U.S. Air Force, Powers of Attorney Fact Sheet
- Military Sentinel – File a Complaint (Federal Trade Commission and Department of Defense project to identify consumer protection issues that affect members of the U.S. Armed Forces)
This fact sheet should not be used in lieu of legal advice. Any requests to reproduce this material, other than by individual victims for their own use, should be directed to ITRC@idtheftcenter.org .
© Copyright 2010 by Identity Theft Resource Center. Created by ITRC staff.
This project was supported by Grant No. 2007-VF-GX-K038 awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Points of view in this document are those of the ITRC and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.