The unique circumstances of military service, including frequent relocations and deployments, can pose challenges for servicemembers in monitoring their credit reports, identifying suspicious activities, and disputing inaccuracies. It’s not surprising that servicemembers report higher instances of identity theft compared to other adults. While the law mandates that credit reporting companies offer free services to assist servicemembers in monitoring their credit, unfortunately, some servicemembers are not receiving these services.
Credit reporting inaccuracies are a prevalent issue, comprising 54% of all complaints submitted by servicemembers to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2022. The CFPB has taken action to address this, including issuing guidance to consumer reporting companies on their obligation to remove false data from credit reports. However, concerns persist, especially when credit reporting companies charge individuals for monitoring services despite reporting inaccuracies.
For servicemembers, maintaining good credit is crucial not only for obtaining loans but also for retaining security clearances and employment. Given their unique circumstances, many rely on credit monitoring to stay informed about their credit history and detect identity theft.
Recognizing the significance of credit reporting to the military community, Congress passed a law in 2018 requiring nationwide credit reporting companies to provide free electronic credit monitoring services to active duty and National Guard members stationed away from their usual duty station. Despite this, complaints suggest that servicemembers may not always receive the free services they are entitled to.
Complaints to the CFPB indicate that credit reporting companies may enroll servicemembers in paid monitoring products without adequately informing them about the free services available. To address this, credit