DoD

July 17, 2014

DoD official provides consumer tips on avoiding scammers

Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

Terri Moon Cronk

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON – Service members and their families can be easy targets for scammers, and financial education is key to prevention, the deputy director of the Pentagon’s office of family policy and children and youth said.

In an interview with DoD News, Navy Cmdr. Peter Hoegel noted that July 16 was Military Consumer Protection Day.

The observance is part of the long-term Financial Readiness Campaign, in which DoD, the Federal Trade Commission and many other organizations highlight efforts to protect service members and their families.

“Military members are trustworthy and trusting members of society who work hard, have a regular income, and they want to be helpful and serve,” Hoegel said. “Unfortunately, it makes them a target for unscrupulous people who are trying to get into their pockets.” Other service member vulnerabilities include frequent relocation, separation from family and friends, and deployment stresses.

Identity theft is the No. 1 crime affecting service members and their families, Hoegel said. “We want to make sure folks understand the scope of the problem and just how cunning some [scammers] are, trying to get their hands on personal and financial information,” he added. “[Identity theft] can be a tremendous drain. You have to understand how scammers come at you and how to protect yourself.”

“The Military Consumer website contains resources to raise awareness and explain the details of scams and other things service members and families can fall prey to, and how to avoid them,” Hoegel said, noting that financial scammers can harm military families stateside and overseas, particularly where language and cultural barriers exist.

Financial stability is a DoD priority, he added, and leaders believe that a service member’s sound financial readiness is critical to mission readiness. The department’s financial readiness resources are available to help service members and families plan budgets, spend accordingly, save for retirement and emergencies, and “get ahead of the curve to give people the tools and knowledge they need before they’re scammed or taken advantage of,” Hoegel said.

“We want to make sure they’re thinking ahead and getting their financial affairs in order before scamming becomes an issue,” he added.

 

Cmdr Hoegel cited the following statistics from the FTC:

— In the past 12 months, 43 percent of service members or their spouses experienced a financial shortfall; this number was 51 percent in the E-1 to E-4 ranks;

— 21 percent of E-1s to E-4s have no emergency savings fund, and another 9 percent have less than $100 in emergency savings;

— 33 percent of service members describe their financial condition as difficult, and 20 percent say their condition is worse than it was 12 months ago;

— A recent study shows financial education had positive results for service members’ retirement savings and other financial issues; and

— In 2013, the Federal Trade Commission received nearly 73,000 complaints from military consumers. Identity theft topped the list with 22,00 complaints, and others concerned debt collection, imposter scams, bank, lender and credit bureau issues, information furnishers and report users, and auto-related complaints.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Racheal E. Watson)

Living the American Dream

SOUTHWEST ASIA — On Christmas day in 1991, the Soviet flag flew over the Kremlin in Moscow for the last time. People across the country took what jobs they could find, getting paid a fraction of what they made before as...
 
 

AFSOUTH Airmen visit orphans

(U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Heather R. Redman) Staff Sgt. Katie Adams, Master Sgt. Roberto Vasquez and Capt. Sarah Hartenstein, all members of 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern), take a group photo with the children at Casa de Corderitos orphanage outside the city of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, June 18. The 12th Air Force (AFSOUTH) members...
 
 

AF begins enlisted PME enrollment notifications

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) — Last week, the Air Force Personnel Center initiated a phased approach to notify approximately 83,000 Airmen of the requirement to enroll in the applicable enlisted professional military education distance learning course. AFPC will notify 20,000 Airmen at the beginning of each month until all members have been notified....
 

 
Congeniality_pict

More than just Ms. Congeniality: Airman competes for homeless female veterans

For Tech. Sgt. Charmaine Pozo, the Ms. Veteran America contest was not about glamourous pageantry. It was about tireless advocacy – for a minimally acknowledged segment of those who have served in uniform: homeless female...
 
 

Enlisted evaluation, promotion systems updated

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — With static closeout dates for each rank in place, the Air Force announced it will update the enlisted performance report forms and utilize new forced distribution and senior rater stratification restrictions to round out the incremental changes to enlisted evaluation and promotion systems with performance as the driving factor in promotions. For...
 
 

Don’t throw a fit — get fit

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, ARIZONA — It’s a controversial topic that has been brought up by many Airmen — changing the abdominal circumference standards on the Air Force fitness assessment test. After months of debate, it was decided by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh III that the standards will stay the same....
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>