I remember it like it was yesterday. I was standing in a coffee shop with my co-worker. We were doing the afternoon coffee run for the office. I was telling her about my past weekend trip to visit my then-boyfriend, now-husband at Pensacola, Fl. Everything was carefree and relaxed.
Until I opened my wallet to pay for my latte.
At that moment, I knew.
I knew my ATM card was gone and I knew I would never see it again.
I had last used my ATM card to check-in for my flight at the airport in Pensacola. And stupidly, when I swiped my card at the check-in kiosk, I didn’t immediately slip it back into my wallet.
Instead I placed my ATM card on top of the kiosk, picked up my carry-on luggage, grabbed my ticket and walked to my gate. I boarded my flight to Dallas in tears (emotional after saying goodbye to my boyfriend) completely unaware that someone else on my flight was now in possession of my ATM card.
Four days later, I was in tears again. This time, it wasn’t because of the challenges of a long-distance military relationship.
It was the oh-no-this-can’t-be-happening realization that my bank account, which didn’t have much money in it to begin with would most likely be empty and I would be facing hefty withdrawal notices from my bank.
Fact: both of those worst-case scenarios happened before I even realized my ATM card was stolen.
We all know that identity theft is a serious problem for most Americans. But for military spouses and service members, the threat is even bigger.
According to a 2012 Federal Trade Commission report, there were 17,915 military consumer complaints in 2011 and 27% of these complaints were related to identity theft. The primary victim categories not only included active duty service members but also veterans and spouses.
In the past we at NextGen MilSpouse have given our readers proactive tips on how to help prevent identity theft from happening to military spouses.
But until you’ve had your bank account completely emptied in less than 4 days like I did, you don’t really take those identity theft tips seriously. I can tell you that I didn’t. I wasn’t as smart about the threat of identity theft as I needed to be.
I can also tell you that having my ATM card stolen and having to fight with my bank about it left me feeling vulnerable and discouraged. I wanted to stop using credit cards forever. (Obviously I didn’t do that.) Instead I got smart about the threat of identity theft.
We need to be smart about it. We need to be aware of it. We need to take advantage of the ways we can help minimize the threat of identity theft.
One of those smart ways to protect yourself against the threat of identity theft is LifeLock Identity Theft Protection.
How Does LifeLock Work?
LifeLock helps protect your identity with the unique combination of detecting, alerting and restoring. LifeLock
monitors more than a trillion data points a day using proprietary technology, alerts you through email and mobile devices if we notice suspicious activity, and back it all up with a dedicated team of U.S. based specialists who are there to make the calls, file the paperwork, and take all the painstaking steps to help restore your identity if it ever is compromised.
Why Should I Pay for LifeLock When My Identity Hasn’t Been Stolen Yet?
The keyword in that question is “yet.” Every day your identity is exposed. Every. Single. Day. The threat is there. Every. Single. Day.
Identity fraud cost Americans $16 billion in 2014. How much could you potentially lose through identity theft in the future? I’m sure you don’t want to find out the answer to that question.
Enroll in LifeLock today! Active and retired military service members and their families will receive a 30 days free, 15% off discount and a free American flag when they enroll. Make sure to use promo code WESALUTE3.
Be smart about the threat of identity theft. Understand the potential threat by investing in LifeLock’s Military Program today.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of LifeLock. The opinions and text are all mine. Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.