Every year around Veteran’s Day, I start thinking of all the veterans I know. And, of course, in my line of work, I start wondering if they’re taking all the right steps to protect themselves against identity theft. What about the veterans in your life? Do you know if their identities are protected?
Maybe the more important question is: did you know that veterans are at a higher risk of identity fraud than the general population? According to a 2014 Federal Trade Commission report, veteran identities are two times more likely to be stolen.
Furthermore, 30 percent of active military and veterans list scams or ID theft as their number one concern. That is to say: after they return home from serving their country (or even while they’re still on active duty), identity theft or fraud is more concerning to them than spending time with their family or returning to their daily routines. That just doesn’t sit right with me.
With this in mind, there are two big ways military personnel can protect themselves from veteran scams and identity theft:
- U.S. veterans are eligible for free credit monitoring. Despite this, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), only 25 percent of veterans take advantage of this service. As we’ve talked about before, regular credit monitoring is one of the best ways to protect oneself against extensive damage if credit or identities are stolen.
- Active duty military members can put “active-duty alerts” on their credit reports. By doing so, if a line of credit is opened, the creditor must go through extra steps to verify the identity of the applicant. The alert must be renewed after a year.
On top of that, if a veteran does suspect scam or fraudulent activity on their credit, the VA has implemented and identity theft protection service called More Than a Number. The program provides education on identity theft, protection tips and tricks, and a toll-free resource number in case of a stolen identity.
If you, like me, want to be sure that the veterans in your life are safe from scams and fraud, be sure to share this with them. There’s no reason they should ever have to worry that their personal information, social security number, or credit card information are at risk for exposure.
And on Tuesday, don’t forget to shake their hand and thank them for their service. From all of us at IdentityForce, happy Veteran’s Day.
Image courtesy of Flickr user www.GlynLowe.com.