How military members can protect against ID theft while overseas

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Veterans and military members who are called to active duty may be at greater risk of identity theft and other types of financial fraud.

That’s because they can be incommunicado or otherwise unable to monitor their credit accounts for weeks or months at a time.

It also can be more difficult for military members to resolve an ID-theft problem if it occurs, especially if they’re outside of the U.S., says Lori Dietrich, director of consumer information services at credit bureau Experian in San Francisco.

An active-duty alert could help to protect against those risks, though it’s not clear how effective this alert is compared with other options, such as a credit freeze or permanent opt-out from prescreened credit offers.

“It may seem cumbersome as you’re getting ready to deploy, but that 5-minute phone conversation might be well worth (lowering) the potential risk of having to go through months of cleaning up a potential fraud issue.” Dietrich says.

A negative credit history can cause a security clearance to be pulled when it’s up for review, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, a federal consumer protection agency.

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