Military Consumer Protection Month: Protect Yourself From Scammers
Military families are attractive targets for scammers because of their frequent relocations, steady paychecks, separation from family and friends as well as the stress of deployments. To bring awareness to the protections in place to prevent service members and their families from falling victim to scams, Military Consumer Protection Day was founded in 2013 – and changed to a month-long observation in 2016. The goals of the observance are to:
- Eliminate scams through education and enforcement
- Teach useful tips to prevent scam artists from being successful
- Call attention to the special protections that exist for service members and their families
- Bring awareness to the year-round efforts of the Military Consumer Campaign
- Promote the many free financial resources and services available to the military community.
Several leading financial organizations teamed up with the Department of Defense to empower the military community with tips and tools to make informed decisions, promote financial readiness and avoid scams. Check out the partners.
How to Protect Yourself Against Scammers
Military Consumer Protection Month is a great reminder to stay on top of the latest information about scams and consistently educate yourself on safe, smart financial practices. Start with some of these action steps:
- Visit the Military Consumer website. You’ll find articles on best practices for consumers, information security and more, as well as links to free resources to protect your financial security. Military Consumer also offers tailored financial tips and services broken down by life event, such as first duty station, PCS and deployment, making it easy to know the most important information at each stage of your life. And make sure to follow its Scam Alerts page to stay on top of the latest schemes out there.
- Take action. If you’ve been the victim of a scam or have received suspicious communications, get help. Visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information page to file a complaint, report identity theft, watch tutorial videos and order free resources. The commission also offers a Scam Alert email notification service to stay a step ahead of scammers. Visit the commission’s FTC Complaint Assistant website to file a complaint.
- Learn about your special protections. Visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Servicemember Affairs website for information on fraud protection tools for service members, state consumer protection contacts for support, and information on the latest advocacy and protection efforts. You can also file a complaint with the bureau if you have been the victim of a scam.
- Meet with a Personal Financial Manager. Get free, personalized support through an appointment with a Personal Financial Manager. They can discuss your consumer protection concerns, help you review financial decisions before they are final, go over fine print with you and provide tailored information about your financial situation. Locate a professional near you by visiting your Family Center or the MilitaryINSTALLATIONS website.
Arm yourself with knowledge during Military Consumer Protection Month. Education is the first line of defense in fighting and avoiding scams. Take advantage of these free resources and services to protect yourself from consumer scammers.
Follow @DoDFINRED on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for tips to keep you financially fit.
Follow @MilConsumer on Twitter for consumer protection tips and resources, as well as current scam information.