Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons, both D-Delaware, sent a letter Aug. 2 to the three major Credit Reporting Agencies urging that they provide free credit monitoring to all active-duty servicemembers.
A new law, authored by Carper and Coons and enacted in May 2018, was intended to require the CRAs to provide free credit monitoring for all active duty service members. However, final rules released in July by the Federal Trade Commission only require the service to be provided to service members while they are assigned to a mission away from their duty station.
“Active duty service members have sacrificed to serve our country, and we know they are disproportionately targeted for identity theft,” wrote the senators. “Providing this service more broadly than is technically required would make a profound difference. For example, an active duty airman assigned to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware who received free credit monitoring while deployed in Afghanistan would be better protected from identity theft if his or her credit monitoring continues after returning to their station. This service member would not be eligible for the intended credit monitoring for most of his or her active duty career, as members typically spend most of their careers assigned to their ‘usual duty station.’”
During the law’s rulemaking process, the Department of Defense advised that restricting the free credit monitoring service to those “assigned to service away from the usual duty station” is severely limiting, and “could result in service members receiving unequal protection based on their individual component, duty status or location.” Several veteran and military service organizations echoed DoD’s concerns, saying, “[W]e believe the FTC should defer to DoD’s definition of active duty status and active status for the National Guard and Reserve.”
“Your organizations could provide a great service to our men and women in uniform by going above and beyond the letter of law to provide free credit monitoring to all of our active-duty service members,” wrote the senators.
Full text of the letter is available at bit.ly/2Ywf66T.