What is an Active Duty Credit Alert?
The recent Equifax cybersecurity incident that potentially exposed 143 million people’s personal information has caused quite the stir on the internet. One option that military personnel have to protect their credit is to use an active duty alert. What exactly is an active duty alert?
An active duty alert is available if you are active duty in the US military. It is similar to a fraud alert except that it lasts 12 months instead of 3. In addition, your name is removed from prescreened credit or insurance offers you get in the mail for 2 years. It is designed to protect your credit while you are deployed, but you don’t have to be deployed to use it.
It forces businesses to take reasonable steps to verify your identity before issuing credit in your name. If you provide a telephone number when you place the alert, a business must either contact you at the telephone number you provided or take other reasonable steps to verify your identity. This helps them confirm that the credit application is really from you and not from someone who has stolen your identity. If you actually are deployed and are difficult to reach, you can assign a personal representative to answer for you, place, or remove the alert.
You can end the alert before 12 months, or request another one when the initial one expires.
For more steps and guidance on dealing with the Equifax cybersecurity breach, check out this page from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.