New Native Nation Military Identity Theft

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New Native Nation Guest Essay
Identity Theft – Additional Protection for Soldiers on Active Duty
by: Charlie Essmeier

Congress passed the Fair Credit Reporting Act several years ago in an attempt to smooth out some problems
in the credit reporting industry. The best known provision of this Act is one that permits Americans to receive a free copy of their
credit reports from each of the three main credit bureaus once per year. So far, this provision of the Act has been a success. A
lesser-known provision of the legislation is one that is intended to protect active duty military personnel from being victimized by
identity theft while they are out of the country.

Identity theft is a crime committed by someone who obtains personal information from a victim and then uses that information
to obtain loans or credit in the victim’s name. While the thief is making off with the money, goods, or services, the victim is left with
the bills. Being a victim of identity theft can be difficult for anyone, as it often takes several years to undo the damage done to
the victim’s credit report. Identity theft can be even more difficult if the victim is an active duty soldier serving outside the United
States. The average victim of identity theft takes nearly a year to discover the crime; it will undoubtedly take even longer if the
victim is outside of the country. The amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act allows active duty personnel who are away from their
main duty stations to place an “active duty alert” on their credit reports. The presence of this alert requires any creditor to verify
the identity of the borrower prior to granting credit in his or her name. Since it isn’t usually possible to contact a soldier who is outside
the country, this effectively freezes the credit report of the individual until they return from overseas service, thus protecting them
from identity theft.

If you are serving the country in a military capacity, away from your active duty station, you may enact an “active duty alert” by
contacting one of the three credit bureaus: Experian, Trans Union, or Equifax. It is only necessary to contact one company; that
company will inform the other two. At that time, you may also designate a personal representative who will act on your behalf
while you are away. This alert is active for one year, and may be renewed.

Military personnel who are serving the United States in a time of war have enough to worry about without having to be concerned
about identity theft. The Fair Credit Reporting Act leaves them with one less thing to worry about.

About The Author
© Copyright 2005 by Retro Marketing.
Charles Essmeier is the owner of Retro Marketing, a firm devoted to informational Websites, including ,
a site devoted to debt consolidation and credit counseling, and , a site devoted to
information regarding home equity lending.

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