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Fraud & Identity Theft

Military Personnel Can Add an Active Duty Alert

Dear Experian,

As a member of the Army currently overseas, what can I do to protect my credit? I heard something about placing an "active duty alert" on my credit that only allows credit to be opened if I directly approve.

- MCL

Dear MCL,

Members of the armed forces on active duty can add an Active Duty Alert to their credit report to help protect themselves from fraud and identity theft while deployed overseas.

How Does an Active Duty Alert Work?

An Active Duty Alert remains on the report for one year. It notifies creditors that you are a member of the U.S. military and that you are currently on active duty. An Active Duty Alert does not require a lender to contact you directly to get your approval before granting credit in your name, but it does ask them to verify the identity of the applicant first. If you choose, you can add a telephone number where you can be reached to the alert.

When you add an Active Duty Alert, Experian shares your request with the other two credit reporting companies so that they can add an alert to their records as well. As an added precaution, Experian will remove your name from lists for preapproved offers for two years.

Protecting Yourself From Identity Theft and Fraud

It's always a good idea to check your credit report at least once a year. If you believe you may be a victim of fraud or identity theft, checking your credit report more frequently can help you detect possible fraud early.

You can order a free credit report once every twelve months from each of the three credit reporting agencies by going online to AnnualCreditReport.com.

You can also request your Experian credit report for free any time.

You can find more tips on how to protect yourself from credit fraud and steps to take if you've been a victim of identity theft right here on Experian's blog.

Thank you for your service to our country and thanks for asking.

The "Ask Experian" team

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