Commentary

June 21, 2013

Personal OPSEC: Tips on Avoiding Identify Theft

Identity theft among military members occurs at a much higher rate than with their civilian counterparts. The reason for this elevated incident rate is partially due to the copious amounts of personnel documents generated and the frequency of deployments that take servicemembers’ focus away from personal business maintenance, such as monitoring their credit reports. There are three major ways to avoid identity theft: deterrence, detection and defense.

In order to deter identity theft, it is important to know where your sensitive information is kept. Thieves rummage through trash cans and check unsecured mailboxes for information that can link them to personal information. Therefore, it is important to check your mail regularly and shred sensitive documents before throwing them away. If you notice bank statements or other important documents missing, that could be a sign that your mail has been stolen. In addition, you should only give your social security number and other identifying information when legally required and through secured means. Also, it is best not to keep your SSN and passwords to accounts in your wallet or other easily obtainable locations.

Try to minimize the number of credit application submissions. Be a detective when it comes to Emails or other correspondence asking for personal information. Typically, thieves pose as bank employees or government officials to retrieve sensitive information. Use complex passwords for bank accounts and other online resources that contain your personal information – remember to change passwords routinely. This helps to avoid unauthorized access to your accounts.

In most cases, taking a proactive stance to prevent identity theft can be a highly effective defense; however, some incidents can occur that inadvertently lead to the unwanted release of information. Being vigilant and closely monitoring personal matters can help minimize most damage if a theft has occurred. It is a good idea to check your credit report at all three credit bureaus [TransUnion, Equifax and Experian], at least once a year. This can be done free of charge. If your budget allows, you can hire a commercial services that specialize in monitoring credit profiles and flagging suspicious activities.

According to Maj. Deric Prescott, active duty Staff Judge Advocate, a good idea for military members is to place a free “active duty alert” on their credit report while they are deployed. This prevents any new credit applications from being made.

If victimized by identity theft, members should immediately file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and local law enforcement officials. These agencies can provide specific remedies that limit liability if identity theft has occurred. Also, immediately contact your creditors to report the theft and start the process of undoing the damage caused by the thieves. Be sure to maintain documentation of all correspondence with credit agencies and financial institutions. Be diligent in reporting fraudulent charges or activity because the issues become more difficult to solve as time elapses. Stop by the March Legal office for more information regarding identity, handouts and attorney referrals. There are additional online resources are available at consumer.ftc.gov/topics/privacy-identity.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

CAL FIRE warns of home heating dangers during winter storms

As a major winter storm prepares to hit California, CAL FIRE is reminding residents to take steps to heat their homes safely. While the cooler weather and rain is a welcomed event during a time of severe drought in California, it also means that many will need to turn on home heating sources to keep...
 
 
Water-graphic

Prepare for water-wise winter: Tips and ideas

When the rain starts, conserving water may be the last thing that comes to mind. Yet given California’s Mediterranean climate, water conservation should be a daily, year-round habit for all of us. Save Our Water, a statewide ...
 
 

Tool to safeguard PII rolls out AF-wide

The Digital Signature Enforcement Tool debuted for Air Force-wide integration today, providing Microsoft Outlook email users with an interactive, automated virtual assistant to help ensure the security of personally identifiable information. “I can’t overstate the operational importance of preventing PII breaches,” said Maj. Gen. B. Edwin Wilson, the commander of 24th Air Force and Air...
 

 
winter-heating

Tips to heat your home affordably this winter

photo courtesy/StatePoint Media Climate control accounts for almost half the energy use in a typical U.S. home and is also the largest energy expense for most people — but it doesn’t have to be. With a few simple soluti...
 
 

VA implements second phase of Choice Card Program

Washington, DC – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced that it began mailing Veterans Choice Cards on Nov. 17 to Veterans currently waiting more than 30-days from their preferred date or the date that is medically determined by their physician for an appointment at a VA facility. “VA continues to focus on implementation...
 
 
Courtesy photo

Native American legacy of honor, dedication

Courtesy photo Pfc. Charles George is the most recent Native American to receive the Medal of Honor. He was recognized for saving members of his unit during the Korean War by throwing himself on a grenade and absorbing the expl...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin