Veterans day gives us the opportunity each year to celebrate our veterans and appreciate the sacrifices they’ve made serving our nation. It’s time to remember even soldiers still out there, battling to keep us safe at home.
But most people don’t understand the risks and attacks most of our veterans. Even our serving military personnel get exposed to, sometimes even while back home. And these attacks don’t come from external military opponents, but the threat of identity theft.
Cybercriminals try to hijack information of veterans, and their target is to use this information to steal and defraud either the veterans or other unsuspecting individuals. Here we discuss some of the tricks fraudsters use and ways veterans can protect themselves.
Imposter Scam Tactics
When fraudsters have your information as a serving or retired military personnel, they may contact you. They could pose as an organization or group that has anything to do with veterans charity, for instance, or even pose as part of the military command.
Imposters pose as someone you know or trust and ask you for funds or information you shouldn’t release to strangers. They can manipulate caller IDs, emails, or social media accounts of those they’re posing as, and they aim to scam you.
To protect yourself, you must be very careful of third parties making contact with you. Cross check and be sure of emails and messages coming from any such sources that should rarely try to make contacts to you.
Long Deployments in Foreign Countries
For military personnel serving long periods at distant locations, fraudsters have the liberty of time to wreak havoc or try to steal their identity, long before anyone notices. It’d be a different case if such a person were around.
Serving military personnel can’t receive notifications on activities going on in their bank and credit card accounts. Therefore, an attempt to gain unauthorized access into such accounts might go unreported for long and put them at higher risks.
Deployed military personnel can help prevent this kind of identity theft by placing active duty alerts on their accounts. You can contact a credit reporting company for such service, and you’ll be able to see notifications on activities on your account and make any needed reports.
Social Media Accounts
Fraudsters often try to hijack the identity of individuals through their social media accounts. They can use many tactics to try to steal the account details of unsuspecting veterans, including click baits, calls, and phishing emails.
If you have social media accounts, be careful with handling them. Also, be cautious of websites asking for your social media account details for you to take advantage of cheap offers. It might be an attempt to take over your account.
To protect yourself, never submit your social media passwords to an untrusted website, as it’s the easiest way of taking control of your account. Update your login details from time to time, and ensure the passwords you use are secure.
Social Security Details of Veterans
It was common practice to have the social security details of military personnel serve as their means of identification. It meant these details get regularly exposed to different people when the staff tries to identify themselves.
Even when veterans go to financial institutions to claim benefits, they’ll still have to fill out personal information for different bank staff to identify themselves. It exposes them to many security risks and increases the possibility of identity theft.
The good thing is that this system has changed, and alternative means of identification have replaced what it used to be. Veterans must ensure such vital and personal information remain confidential, to reduce their exposure to identity theft.
Veterans and even serving military personal must consider holistic protection for themselves against identity theft. Some companies can take care of protecting your identity against theft. You’re also eligible for identity protection for members of your family in some instances.
Institutions would not want to disclose your personal information to a third party. And when you need a family member or friend to help protect you from identity theft in your absence, it’ll difficult. Give power of attorney to someone you trust, to enable them to stand in your place when the need arises.
Unfortunately, fraudsters would want to steal from even our veterans, not minding the sacrifices they make for our nation. But veterans and military personnel must be vigilant and protect themselves against theft. In case you’re a victim of identity theft, report immediately to appropriate authorities. Your information would help develop resistance against future occurrences.