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Mission Your Money: Avoid Fraud

This content is provided courtesy of USAA.

Identity theft is a growing problem for the military, but there are ways to fight back. June Walbert offers you tips on ways to avoid financial fraud.

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No one wants to be a victim of identity theft, but unfortunately the problem is growing for military personnel and their families because of relocations and deployments. But, there are ways you can fight back.

Do not let mail or newspapers pile up if you are deployed, a clear giveaway to criminals that you're gone. Instead, ask someone to pick up your mail and cancel your paper. Make sure to shred all of your financial documents and personal information before you get rid of them. Do not give out your personal information over the phone or through the internet unless you know who you are dealing with. Carry your Social Security Card with you? Don't. You could lose it and it gets into the wrong hands. Best to keep all your personal information in a secure place.

If you are deployed, or will be soon, and don't expect to sign up for new credit while away, consider placing an active duty alert on your credit report. This will require creditors to verify your identification before granting credit in your name.

If you suspect identity theft, alert the credit agencies, and your bank and insurance companies. You also want to tell your commanding officer and file a police report with military law enforcement and local police. Proof of the crime may be needed by your creditors.

Finally, report the scam and fraud complaints to the Federal Trade Commission. Once you do this, it could hopefully alert authorities and others of possible scams.



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posted 4.26.2011

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