LITTLE ROCK — Members of the military face challenges on behalf of their country every day, whether it’s relocation, deployment or separation from family and friends. The unique nature of military service makes service members a prime target for scam artists.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, more than 62,000 consumer complaints last year came from service members, veterans and their spouses. Scammers may offer “military discounts” for goods and services never provided. Also, service members are disproportionately targeted by predatory lenders, or by for-profit colleges attempting to secure military education funds for their proprietary businesses.
To educate service members and their families about consumer issues, the Office of Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is participating in the first national Military Consumer Protection Day on Wednesday, July 17. McDaniel issued this consumer alert to inform Arkansas-based active-duty, reserve and National Guard personnel and their families about that day’s events.
Representatives from the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division will be at Little Rock Air Force Base in Jacksonville, Camp Robinson in North Little Rock and at Fort Chaffee near Fort Smith to offer information and resources to military service members. McDaniel’s office is joining with the Federal Trade Commission, U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Department of Defense and other federal, state and nonprofit agencies in recognizing the specific consumer needs of service members, veterans and their families.
There are about 1.4 million Americans currently on active duty. About 900,000 are in the reserve or National Guard.
“We owe our safety and our country’s strength to the men and women of our armed forces,” McDaniel said. “We also owe it to them to give them the tools and resources they need to avoid the types of scams and fraud that often affect service members. It is my hope that they will be equipped to protect themselves in the consumer marketplace.”
A broad coalition of groups nationwide will participate in Military Consumer Protection Day, offering tips and information about managing money, dealing with credit and debt, building savings, protecting personal information, recognizing identity theft and avoiding fraud.
Consumer advocates and educators from the Attorney General’s Office will be available to answer questions and distribute helpful materials to service members on July 17. McDaniel plans to host presentations on identity theft at both bases in Pulaski County, as well as open-forum meetings in which consumers may share their concerns and questions with representatives of the office.
The nonprofit group ARVets, which assists active-duty military, veterans and their families is participating. The University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service will also have representatives available to answer consumers’ questions.
For more details and information about Military Consumer Protection Day, visit www.military.ncpw.gov.
For more information about consumer-related issues, visit the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division website, www.GotYourBackArkansas.org or call (800) 482-8982.