Deter, detect, defend <br> Sound strategies fight fraud, identity theft

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Brad McAlpine
  • 335th Training Squadron commander
Fraud. It is a simple five-letter word that can have extraordinary impact on your personal finances.

On my recent permanent change of station move from Colorado to Keesler, someone managed to clone a debit card and discovered the personal identification number code. They then proceeded to withdraw cash from a location in Beverly Hills.

Within minutes, our bank contacted us to find out if we had authorized such charges. Obviously we had not, and the bank immediately deactivated the card and within days the money had been returned to our account pending a full investigation.

All of us have gone on vacation and had to call the bank when one of our cards was declined as we tried to buy dinner or check into a hotel. While this may seem an inconvenience, it's done for your protection.

There are some good tips from the Federal Trade Commission to protect yourself from this kind of fraud and identity theft.

Deter -- Protect your PIN codes from being observed and do not use obvious numbers and maintain computer security and avoid using public computers for financial transactions.

Detect -- Ensure you monitor your bank accounts and having a good fraud protection program through your banks is ideal and monitor your accounts on a regular basis for unknown charges.

Defend -- Make regular checks of your credit report and close any accounts that have been tampered with by an unknown person. If you're a victim, always be sure to file a police report or have the bank file one on your behalf.

Identity theft and fraud can be scary and financially debilitating personally and could potentially affect you professionally.

I hope none of you ever has to deal with these circumstances in your life, but if you have good fraud protection on each of your accounts, it will provide you peace of mind and protect your finances personally and professionally.

Safe travels and safe finances!