Identity protection information
available to Fort McCoy community
|People in the Fort McCoy community are advised to use
common sense and be proactive with their financial information to help
protect themselves against identity theft.
Shawn Harrigan of the Fort McCoy Police Department said an important
piece of information to safeguard is Social Security numbers.
One of the latest schemes targets the Social Security numbers of
children, often long before they even have a bank account. Thieves use
computers to find dormant Social Security numbers — often those assigned
to children who don’t use them — and then sell them to other people who
use them to help establish phony credit and run up huge debts they don’t
intend to repay.
From a military standpoint, not divulging Social Security numbers can be
difficult at times as these numbers are requested for official
government business. Harrigan said refusal to divulge this information
may affect things such as pay, movement orders, law enforcement contact
and Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System transactions, etc.
“To whom you give out your Social Security number comes back to common
sense,” Harrigan said. “I do not know of any bank or financial
institution that sends out generic e-mails or makes random calls seeking
People must be aware to whom they talk, to whom they give credit card
and bank information to and should destroy receipts before they go into
Bryan Clarkin, the Financial Readiness program manager for the Army
Community Service Center at Fort McCoy, said online sources, such as
http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/ (Federal Trade
http://www.bbb.org/us/Military/Army/ (Better Business Bureau), can
provide valuable information about combating other current
identity-theft schemes including skimming, medical-identity theft,
social-networking abuse and Family-and-friends-identify theft.
Skimming is done by installing special equipment in systems that read
credit or debit cards, for example. Thieves use the equipment to make
copies of bills and to capture financial information illegally.
Thieves also can use identity theft to get access to your doctors,
dentists, prescriptions and procedures and then send you and your
insurer the bill. Receipt of bogus medical bills may indicate someone
may be using your medical benefits.
Social networking allows people to keep up with friends, Family members
and colleagues, but it also may make personal details, such as age,
hometown, employer and personal favorites available to thieves.
Identity theft by friends and Family members accounts for nearly half of
all identity crimes.
Clarkin said tips from experts include not leaving wallets, credit card
information/statements, etc., where someone can have easy access to
People also should routinely check their credit report for signs of
“I can provide people in the Fort McCoy community with information about
how to protect themselves from identity theft, phishing schemes, or by
freezing credit accounts,” Clarkin said.
For more information, call Clarkin at 608-388-6812.