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Fraud Protection for Members of the Military

This article provides information on fair credit reporting alerts for active duty military as well as other information. This article was provided by The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

What alerts are available?

  •  Active Duty Alert 
  •  Initial Alert 
  •  Extended Alert 

Each of these alerts notifies users of your credit report of the potential for fraud or identity theft. The lender will have to take reasonable steps to verify the identity of someone who requests new credit in your name before they can approve it. New credit includes opening a new line of credit in your name (except for an open-end credit plan such as a credit card), issuing an additional card on one of your existing credit accounts, or increasing your credit limit. If the lender does not verify the requester’s identity, it will not approve the request. 


TIP: These alerts do not prevent you from adding to the balance on an existing line of credit or credit card within your existing credit limit.

Which alert should I get?

Active Duty Alert 


This alert is available to you if you are in the military on active duty and are assigned to service away from your usual duty station. The alert notifies credit reporting companies of your military status, which limits new credit offers while you are away.

Here’s how it works: 

  • Lenders are notified that you have an alert on your credit file and they must take reasonable steps to verify the requester’s identity before approving new credit. § The alert lasts twelve months (unless you remove it sooner.)
  • Your name will be removed for two years from nationwide credit reporting companies’ prescreening lists for credit offers and insurance (unless you request otherwise.) 

Initial Fraud Alert 


This Alert is available to you if you have a “goodfaith suspicion” that you have been or will be a victim of identity theft or fraud. (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) Learn more at consumerfinance.gov

TIP: This alert is a good first step if you’re worried your identity has or will be stolen. You don’t have to wait until it happens to you. The alert provides you with the right to request a free credit report so you can keep an eye out for anything suspicious.

Here’s how it works: 

  • Lenders are notified you have an alert on your credit file and they must take reasonable steps to verify the requester’s identity before approving new credit.  This alert lasts 90 days (unless you remove it sooner.) 
  • You also have a right to one free consumer report from each of the nationwide credit reporting companies. (This is in addition to the free annual report all consumers are entitled to.) 

Extended Fraud Alert 


This Alert is available to you if you actually have been a victim of identity theft and have filed a qualifying “identity theft report” with one of the nationwide credit reporting companies.

TIP: To create a report online, visit www. identitytheft.gov. This alert requires lenders to contact you before approving new credit for you. It also gives you the right to request two free credit reports while limiting new credit offers.

How can I get these alerts?

To add an alert, you can call, go online, or write to any one of the three largest nationwide credit reporting companies (Equifax, TransUnion, Experian.) You will be required to verify your identity. Once you place an alert with one nationwide credit reporting company, the alert will be added to your credit report with the other companies. 


TIP: You can remove any of these alerts by using the same method you used to initially add the alert. And it’s free to place and remove these alerts. After contacting one company, you don’t have to contact the others.

Here’s the contact information for the three largest credit reporting companies: 


Equifax: (800) 525–6285  
Experian: (888) 397–3742 
Transunion: (800) 680–7289

Where can I get more information on this topic and others pertaining to service members?

Go to the website for the Office of Servicemember Affairs to find more resources, guides, tips, and news for servicemembers, veterans and their families. Or, take a look at some of the frequently asked questions on the subject at Ask CFPB at www.consumerfinance.gov/askcfpb.

Click the link below for more information

CLICK HERE  For the full PDF document on Fraud protection tools to help safeguard service members.