When you are deployed, or stationed away from home you can become target to identity theft.
Without the ability to monitor your credit and be informed of new inquiries you are opening the door to potential fraud.
The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) Rule implemented a 2018 law that went into effect October 31, 2019.
Included in this rule is the Free Electronic Credit Monitoring For Active Duty Military Rule, which required consumer credit reporting agencies to make notifications to active duty members about credit report changes.
This rule applies to Active Duty, National Guard, and Reservists serving under Active Duty orders.
Continue reading for more information on how to get a free credit report if you’re in the Military and how to sign up for free credit report monitoring.
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To get a free credit report from TransUnion as a Military member visit annualcreditreport.com.
This website allows you to receive a free copy of your Transunion credit report every twelve months.
Although there are many sites that claim you can receive free credit reports, annualcreditreport.com is the only source that is authorized by Federal Law to supply these reports at no cost.
Here’s step by step instructions on getting your free credit report:
Step 1: Click Here to visit the official website.
Step 2: Once there, click on the link that says, “Request yours now!” or “Request your free credit reports”.
Step 3: Fill Out Your Info
Once the site loads it will provide you information on the steps to get your credit report.
You can request to receive your TransUnion, Experian or Equifax report, or a combination.
Because they are only offered once every 12 months, you can view one report now and another one throughout the year, but once a report has been ran, it cannot be provided for free for another 12 months.
Follow the steps provided, including entering in legal names, social security numbers, addresses and answering questions to assist with verifying your identity.
What are the benefits?
The benefit of viewing your credit report allows you to watch for potential identity theft, ensure the information is accurate, and see what balances are reporting.
This can provide you the information you may need to calculate your debt to income ratio and overall credit amounts for any future large purchases.
The other benefit includes the ability to see the information across the three major reporting agencies, as the information is not always the same.
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How To Get Free Credit Monitoring With TransUnion
TransUnion provides free credit report monitoring with a program called TrueIdentity.
TrueIdentity allows you to monitor your credit by providing instantaneous alerts to your phone when they are notified of a new application for credit, email alerts whenever critical changes are made and ID Theft Insurance up to $25,000.
While credit monitoring from other providers only allow you to view new information every 7 or 30 days, TrueIdentity allows for unlimited credit report refreshes.
TrueIdentity also has a feature that enables you to lock your TransUnion credit report with a 1-Touch Credit Lock feature.
This feature will unlock/lock your credit report with a swipe and no time delay.
You must be active duty US Military in order to use this feature.
To sign up for TrueIdentity visit their website here and click on, “Add TrueIdentity”.
Once you click on the link above it will redirect you to a new page where you will fill out personal information.
After entering all of your personal information and creating an account, you will verify your identity.
Experian offers all active Military Members the option to receive a Free Experian Credit Report and monitoring with Experian IDnotify.
Active Military Members are eligible to receive a free Experian Credit Report every 30 days.
The only downfall to this free feature is that it does not include your score.
To sign up for IDnotify, follow the steps in the below section.
In addition to using IDnotify, Military members can receive a Free credit report from annualcreditreport.com following the same steps covered in the TransUnion section above.
How To Get Free Credit Monitoring With Experian
Included with Experian’s IDnotify is the ability to have free credit report monitoring.
This feature provides daily alerts whenever there are changes detected on your credit report.
It allows you to view accounts, balances and payment history.
To get started, visit their website here.
Click on the area that says, “Get started now for free >”.
The page will redirect you to an account creation page.
You must enter the personal information and account details requested.
After entering information into all fields you will certify that you are active duty.
Upon creating an account you will be authorizing Experian to access your credit report and will have your credit information immediately ready.
Equifax does not currently provide Military members free copies of their credit report without signing up for their credit monitoring service (details below).
However, you can follow the steps in the TransUnion section above to receive a free copy of your Equifax credit report from annualcreditreport.com
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How To Get Free Credit Monitoring With Equifax
Similar to the programs above, Equifax offers Active Duty personnel, including members of the National Guard, free credit monitoring service.
Included with this service you will receive access to your Equifax credit report.
Signing up for this service will allow you to monitor your credit report for any potential identity theft or fraud issues.
Equifax’s credit monitoring service is called Credit Watch Gold.
Credit Watch Gold will notify you of any key changes to your credit report.
It has a feature called Automatic fraud alerts that will place an initial fraud alert on your credit report and will automatically update the alert every year.
Your Equifax credit report will refresh once a day with this service.
Included with Credit Watch Gold is up to $25,000 of insurance coverage in the event you are victim of identity theft.
To sign up for their service visit the website here and click “Get Started”.
After selecting Get Started, you will be taken to a screen that asks you to verify that you are currently on Active Duty.
After verifying that you are Active Duty, it will direct you through Equifax’s four step registration process.
The first step will ask you basic personal information including your name, address and social security number.
On the second step you will create an account and then verify your identity on step 3.
Step 4 will include submitting your order confirmation.
You will be asked to verify your status again in two years.
In summary, there are several websites that offer a free credit report, but the only official website is annualcreditreport.com.
Free credit report monitoring for Military members, including copies of credit reports, are available through the three consumer credit reporting agencies, TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.
These services allow you to monitor your credit and be alerted of any potential fraud.
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