A growing number of military men and women are becoming targets of consumer fraud, especially those in their early 20s. A majority is under 25 and buying things for the first time like their first vehicle loans. Company’s use affinity marketing to lure young and in-experienced military personnel to take out loans, but age isn’t the only thing that makes them a target. It’s their constant relocation as well. Somebody may have personal information in California after a service person leaves, and they could open local accounts that wouldn’t necessarily show up on a credit report. The Federal Trade Commission says they received 62,000 complaints in 2012 from military men and women, and officials say that number could grow. The reason people don’t come forward is because they may be embarrassed, thinking nobody is really going to do anything. But protection efforts have been made by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to investigate companies that provide loans to military personnel that don’t meet the legal requirements under the Military Lending Act and Service Member Relief Act.
Service men and women can protect themselves from identity theft by regularly checking their credit report and credit scores, keeping up with accounts and using credit sparingly. It can take between three months to a year to clear your name following identity theft.
Additional Resources for military personnel and their families can be found at Military.ncpw.gov. This website contains free tips and tools from the FTC, Department of Defense, and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Consumer Advocates, Military Support Groups and more than a dozen other federal and state agencies.
Browse a wealth of consumer financial safety at the Tri-State Better Business Bureau web site.