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.


 
 

 

BASH: Protecting our aircraft, Airmen

U.S. Air Force photo/2nd Lt. Bari Wald David Briseño, wildlife biologist with the United States Department of Agriculture and head of Marchs’ Bird/Anti-Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) program, prepares to fire a 12-gauge ‘shell cracker’ into the air with his shotgun. Firing ‘shell crackers’ is one of many pyrotechnic methods used in the BASH program to...
 
 

452 AMW lineage began in World War II England

(With the this year’s military ball theme, “A Legacy for the future: 452nd Bombardment Group,” and the ball only 11 weeks away, it seems appropriate to re-print an 11-part series tracing its lineage. The series was first run in the Beacon in 2007. Take this journey with us.) The 452nd Air Mobility Wing started as...
 
 

Official says: Tobacco use harms military readiness

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Because tobacco use is harmful to military readiness, the Defense Department has an added responsibility to curb its use, the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs said today, noting that service members are more likely to use tobacco products than civilians. Tobacco use can lead to excess oral cavity disease and...
 

 
Photo courtesy of AFN
MC2(SW/AW)

AFN does Comic-Con, brings home the goods

Photo courtesy of AFNMC2(SW/AW) Stephen Hale interviews Adelaide Kane, who plays Mary, Queen of Scots, in the dramatic TV series Reign at the 2014 ComicCon International in San Diego, California. The American Forces Network is ...
 
 

Social media guidance on political campaigns, elections

Reservists on active duty for 30 or more days may generally express their personal views on public issues or political candidates via social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter or personal blogs, much the same as they would be permitted to write a letter to the editor of a newspaper. If a social media site/post...
 
 

Go After the OC!M

“If the only reason you’re avoiding taking on a challenge is because the idea scares you, then that’s the reason to take it on.” That line comes from Steve Farber’s The Radical Leap, a great little book on leadership that follows the journey of a man who stands at the edge of his future but...
 




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