Being in the military doesn't protect you from a very real, very prevalent form of fraud: identity theft. It can ruin your reputation, your good name and most of all, the credit rating you may have worked throughout your military career to build.
With an increasing number of credit card purchases online, identity thieves have developed some clever ways to access your important credit. Does this mean you should never use credit cards or make online purchases? Not at all! Using credit cards wisely is an asset that increases your credit rating and can enhance your military lifestyle.
We recommend that you not only use your credit wisely, but keep it close to the vest.
You need to be military smart about protecting your credit from identity thieves. And fortunately, there are some simple steps you can follow that can lock up your data, keep tabs on your credit, and protect your greatest asset: your well-earned military reputation and credit rating.
Identity thieves love to use pre-approved credit-card offers sent to you by mail to open accounts in your name. This is often the hardest type of identity theft to detect. One option is to limit the amount of credit card offers that get sent to you by mail. Call 888-567-8688 and connect to a service run by the credit bureaus to opt out of credit card offers by mail.
On the other hand, when you have good credit, you do want to keep abreast of the best credit card offers that come up all the time. You can do this with a Google search once a month; enter "best credit card offers" and scan the galaxy of offers that can extend your military credit and expand your military money.
Shredding documents will eliminate a paper trail that identity thieves look for. You can also create less paper by choosing to receive and pay bills online, which ensures that info can't be stolen from your paper mail.
Take advantage of credit card services that allows you to access your account online 24/7, and look for any unauthorized charge on your card. Check regularly - monthly - to see that all charges on your credit card apply to you. Report any charges that aren't yours immediately.
Identity thieves can get your valuable financial information by hacking into a merchant's system and lifting your debit card pin numbers. Monitor your online bank and brokerage accounts a few times a week, and if you see any suspicious withdrawals or charges, report it to your financial institution immediately.
Yes, it takes some time to protect your identity; but you in the military are used to protecting people. Why not yourself? Just one incident of identity theft can ruin a lifetime of strong credit and smart military money management. If your military duties keep you too busy to keep tabs on your credit activity on a consistent basis, get support from your military spouse and together, determine to take control of this essential part of your military money management.
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