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.


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Megan Crusher

Yellow Ribbon program supports Airman inspired by family history

U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Megan Crusher Almira Pasic and her youngest son, Memsudin, participate in an activity during the Warrior Support Forum, at a Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, held in Chandler, Ariz., July 26...
 
 

Celebrate National Parents’ Day 2015

Yes, you read the headline correctly. There is such a thing as National Parents’ Day. It is celebrated in the United States on the fourth Sunday of July, which happens to be this coming Sunday. This holiday was established in 1994 when former President Bill Clinton signed a Congressional Resolution into Law (36 U.S.C. § 135) for...
 
 

Last chance to design airshow poster

March Air Reserve Base is holding a design contest for the “March Field AirFest 2016: Thunder Over the Empire” poster. Everyone is eligible to enter. The winning designer will receive a 2016 AirFest package for a family of four. The package includes VIP parking for one vehicle (excluding RVs); four tickets to the pre-show dinner...
 

 
Courtesy photo

Airman shares Honor Flight with grandfather

Courtesy photo Capt. Malia Hoffmann and her grandfather, Oscar Hoffmann, a WWII veteran, prepare to depart for Washington, D.C. on an Honor Flight. The Hoffmanns traveled with approximately 84 other veterans and their dependent...
 
 

Keep telling your Air Force Reserve story

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. — Personally Identifying Information in Public Affairs ProductsIn the wake of information operations launched by the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL), I have seen a number of incidents where Reservists have requested to have Air Force news stories identifying them by name and rank removed from Air Force...
 
 
Halle-Berry

Halle Berry Connects With the U.S. Military

Halle Berry stars in the Science-Fiction show “Extant,” which just began its second season. Finding out someone values and appreciates what you do can keep you floating at cloud level for weeks, especially when the someone ...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>