Vets are Still Worried About Identity Theft - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

06/16/06 - East Texas

Vets are Still Worried About Identity Theft

by Ramonica R. Jones

Authorities are still investigating the theft of personal information from millions of military personnel and veterans. Now, vets are being warned to protect their identities, including many East Texas veterans who have gotten letters from the government explaining how to avoid becoming a victim of ID theft.

Bob Lichtenberger is a veteran and a victim of theft. His social security number was among tens of thousands stolen by the infamous hacker who took information through the University of Texas computer system. He wants his fellow vets to be careful.

"Mine was one of them," Lichtenberger said. "I was notified. I put a fraud alert on my credit report, which is something else that we're telling people to do now."

The D.A.V. in Lufkin is encouraging veterans to take it a step further by filing a '7-Year Extended Fraud Alert' with their credit information. That way, they'll be notified if somebody tries to use their credit. Veteran Joe Hood appreciates the advice.

"It gives a good guide to go by and what to do if we have to and understand who to talk to and where to go," Hood said.

But he can't help but wonder what will happen in the future.

"Next five, six years, that's what I'm worried about, not right now," he said. 

Lichtenberger now checks his credit report every few months. His identity was never stolen, but having his social security number snatched so easily has taught him a lesson.

He said vets should "freeze their credit reports to where no one can get anything on credit on that social security number without the person's permission."

A simple process that can save years of complications caused by identity theft.

If you believe you are the victim of identity theft, you should contact the fraud department at one of the three major credit bureaus: www.equifax.com, www.experian.com or www.transunion.com; close any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently, file a police report, and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

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