Active duty servicemembers are often at greater risk of identity theft and fraud because they may be deployed overseas or away from home for weeks or months at a time. In 2018, Congress passed a law to give active duty servicemembers the right to free credit monitoring services from the Big Three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion).
Unfortunately, the new law only requires the credit bureaus to provide “electronic notifications” of material changes in a servicemember’s credit report, i.e., email, text, or other electronic alerts. The law does not provide servicemembers with full free access to their credit reports when they receive an alert that something has changed.
While notification is good, its just not enough. Its like telling someone your family member was sent to the hospital but only telling you why if you pay them. Our actively deployed men and women deserve better. As the law currently stands, they can only find out the details of the changes that they are notified about if they buy a credit report or use their one free annual credit report. The credit bureaus should not be allowed to make the deployment of our military as a way to make money, by sending notifications of changes but not providing free access to see what has changed.
Fortunately, Congress gave the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) the power to mandate free credit reports as part of new requirements for free credit monitoring. The FTC has issued a proposed rule on credit monitoring but did not include free reports.
But we can do something about this oversight. Please use this link to go to the FTC website and tell the FTC that active duty servicemembers should get free online access to their credit reports when they get an alert that something has changed in their credit reports. Deadline to submit comments is Monday, January 7.
While there may be some delay to the FTC acting on the proposed rule due to the FTC currently being closed thanks to the government shutdown, you can still leave comments about the proposed rule via the above link.