If you’re a servicemember getting ready to deploy, you most likely have a “To Do” list. FTC staff suggest your list include placing an active duty alert on your credit reports to help minimize your risk of identity theft.

An active duty alert on your credit report means businesses must take extra steps before granting credit in your name. Active duty alerts last for one year and can be renewed to match your deployment period.

To place an active duty alert on your report, contact the fraud department of one credit reporting company; they must contact the other two.

The credit reporting companies also will take your name off their marketing lists for prescreened credit card offers for two years, unless you ask them to add you back onto the list.

Learn more about special consumer protections for military personnel at Military Families.