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Attorney General Janet T. Mills joins first National Military Consumer Protection Day
July 16, 2013
(AUGUSTA, Maine)— Maine Attorney General Janet T. Mills is joining the Department of Defense, Pine Tree Legal Assistance, the Federal Trade Commission and other state and federal organizations to celebrate the first annual Military Consumer Protection Day on Wednesday, July 17, 2013. Military Consumer Protection Day is a joint initiative to empower active duty and retired service members, military families, veterans and civilians in the military community.
“It is unconscionable that some scammers are targeting soldiers and their families,” said Mills. “Maine is proud of its tradition of military service going back to the Civil War, when our state sent a larger proportion of our population into service than any other state in the Union. It is unforgivable that anyone would take advantage of these men and women who put their lives on the line to preserve our freedom. These men and women in uniform need to be aware of the unique steps they should take to manage money, deal with credit and debt, build savings, protect personal information, recognize identity theft and avoid fraud.”
A website has been launched to provide access to free resources and to help servicemembers make better-informed decisions when managing their money.
The site – military.ncpw.gov – provides free resources, tip sheets and blog posts from national consumer protection experts tailored specifically for military members and their families.
“Military members have a lot on their plates,” said Mills. “Dealing with the fallout from poor financial choices or worrying about debt collectors harassing their families should not be something they have to contend with. I encourage service members, active and retired, to visit this new website and to take steps to protect themselves from financial exploitation.”
In addition to the national Military Consumer Protection Day website, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau assists military personnel in planning for their future and protecting their assets. Overseen by Assistant Director Holly Petraeus, the Office of Servicemember Affairs web page at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is found at: www.consumerfinance.gov/servicemembers.
“It’s so important for servicemembers, veterans and their families to know about the agencies, tools and resources that help protect them from consumer fraud,” said Petraeus. “We want to make it easy for them to make smarter decisions about spending and managing their money. Military Consumer Protection Day is a great way to raise awareness.”
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides a number of protections to active-duty servicemembers. In addition to ensuring certain civil rights, like voting rights, while on active duty, the SCRA provides financial protections for active-duty servicemembers. The SCRA protects active-duty service members against default judgments, evictions, mortgage foreclosures, and repossession of property. It gives active-duty servicemembers the ability to terminate residential and automobile leases, and it reduces the rate of interest for debts incurred before entering active duty to 6 percent.
Anyone may visit the new national Military Consumer Protection Day website and Maine consumers who need assistance can contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-436-2131, email: consumer.mediation@Maine.gov or go to www.maine.gov/ag