If you expect to deploy or to be away from your usual duty station and do not expect to seek new credit, consider placing an “active duty alert” on your credit report.
An active duty alert requires creditors to verify your identity before granting credit in your name. The alert may specify a telephone number for identity verification purposes. This measure of protection is excellent to guard against someone using your personal information and identity in fraud or theft.
The active duty alert is part of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act of 2003 (FACTA), which added new sections to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The new sections intend to help servicemembers fight the growing crime of identity theft. Congress designed the active duty alert to protect servicemembers in locations where they are unlikely to apply for credit or monitor their financial accounts.
Under FACTA, you may place an active duty alert on your credit report or designate a personal representative to place one on your behalf. The active duty alert lasts for at least 12 months. If you receive an extended deployment, you can place another alert after the first one expires. The alert can be added or cancelled at any time by the servicemember or personal representative by contacting one of the three credit reporting agencies.
Credit Reporting Agencies: Equifax, (800) 525-6285, www.equifax.com; Experian, (888) 397-3742, www.experian.com, and; Trans Union, (800) 680-7289, www.transunion.com.
When you place an alert, you will be removed from credit reporting companies’ marketing list for pre-screened credit or insurance for two years, unless you request to be put back on the list early.
If you have questions concerning this matter, call the Fort Irwin Legal Assistance Office for an appointment at 380-5321. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Thursdays 1-4 p.m. The office is located on C Avenue in building 230, across from the garrison headquarters.