Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif. --
When service members board the plane to return to the United States from deployment overseas, their family and friends are not the only ones waiting for them. Scam artists are also busy setting up store fronts, phone lines, and websites specifically targeting service members.
These consumer predators know that service members have to deal with unique pressures, such as spending extended periods of time abroad, moving to different cities multiple times, and being held to a higher standard for debt repayment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. In addition, service members are known for having a steady income and trying to do what is best for their families.
The Department of Justice is working hard to protect consumers in the military, working with the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch, who has made fighting fraud aimed at service members and veterans a top priority. The department has also been working externally with other agencies, such as the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, to identify potential fraud earlier and collaborate with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Service member Affairs, led by Holly Petraeus, engaging in a dialogue with military leadership about fraud can be prevented. They have joined forces with federal and state prosecutors – as well as the JAG Corps – to identify scammers and bring more cases against them.
The Department of Justice is committed to using all of the tools available to hold these swindlers responsible. The best way to fight them is to deprive them of customers. Service members of each military branch have informed the department about their experiences, and they are dedicated to getting victims’ messages out.
If you have been the victim of a scam, you are encouraged to come forward and complain.
So often, financial fraud goes unreported because victims feel embarrassed or foolish, but only when you complain is it possible for you to get the help you need. When we know there is a problem, the Department of Justice and their law enforcement partners will work to stop it. Consult your military installation legal assistance office or your State Attorney General — and log your complaint at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov or at www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/.
With your help, the Department of Justice can continue to ramp up their fight against those who prey on the financial well-being of service members and their families, and leave them free to focus on your invaluable work protecting the Nation.