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AG Zoeller commemorates second annual Military Consumer Protection Day
Start Date: 7/17/2014 All Day
End Date: 7/17/2014
Entry Description

AG Zoeller commemorates second annual Military Consumer Protection Day  

State, Federal partnerships reach veterans and service men and women nationwide 

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller joined 15 other AG offices to celebrate the second annual Military Consumer Protection Day by offering consumer tips to military service members.  Indiana is also a partner agency with the CFPB and FTC in raising awareness of resources available to our military service members, their families and veterans.

This broad coalition is sharing tips and information about managing money, dealing with credit and debt, building savings, protecting personal information, recognizing identity theft and avoiding fraud.

“The last thing a military service member should have to worry about is being scammed, but it seems they can be a target because of their steady paychecks and mobile lifestyle,” Zoeller said. “Military Consumer Protection Day helps highlight the need for service members to learn how to spot a scam, understand their rights and use the free resources available to them.”

Zoeller said there are some important resources available to those who are away protecting our country including:

  • Credit Reports: A credit report is a great tool for spotting identity theft.  Information on your credit report that is not familiar could indicate identity theft. 
  • Credit Freeze: Placing a credit freeze on your credit reports can block an identity thief from opening a new account or obtaining credit in your name.  A credit freeze keeps new creditors from accessing your credit report without your permission.  If you activate a credit freeze, an identity thief cannot take out new credit in your name, even if the thief has your Social Security number or other personal information. 
  • Active-Duty Alerts: These alerts can be placed on a service member’s credit report to inform a business it is obtaining information from an individual away on active duty. The alert requires the business to first obtain permission from an authorized third party like a family member or friend before proceeding.
  • Fraud Alerts: These alerts are often used after personal information has been compromised.  Fraud alerts tell users of your credit report that they must take reasonable steps to verify who is applying for credit in your name. 
  • Caps on interest bearing debt: Those on active duty may cap the interest rate on most outstanding loans at 6 percent under the provisions of the Service members Civil Relief Act. To have your interest rate reduced to 6 percent, you must write a letter to each creditor letting them know about your orders and your intent to invoke the 6 percent cap.
  • Vehicle and property lease terminations: Deployed military members are able to legally terminate some vehicle and property leases. If you are currently leasing a vehicle or home/apartment and wish to terminate your lease, contact the leaseholder and inform them of your deployment.
  • Foreclosure and eviction relief: Under the Service member Civil Relief Act and the National Mortgage Settlement, service members are granted special relief when facing foreclosure. For example, a person may be able to obtain a “stay” or temporarily delay in a foreclosure or other civil court proceeding if he or she is called up to active duty. In addition, service members have special eligibility for loss mitigation relief such as a modification of their loan or a short sale. Similarly, service members and their families who rent their home may obtain a temporary stay of eviction proceedings while the service member is on active duty.

Zoeller also reminded former service members that scam artists do not stop preying upon our military veterans once they leave the service.  These include:

  • Education:  Veterans looking to pursue higher education need to ask specific questions and do their homework before enrolling.  Complaints about the transferability of school credits, accreditation standards, and misrepresentations about job placement rates and student financial aid are common.  Rather than rely upon what a recruiter says, take time to verify the information.
  • VA Pension Scams:  Senior Citizens are especially vulnerable to a category of scams where offers of “free” help are often used to take advantage of our veterans.  These scams come in many forms.  One involves invitations to discuss “Non-Service Connected Pensions” by unaccredited financial planners and insurance agents who use the opportunity to sell overpriced insurance annuities and irrevocable trust agreements.  Another common scam by some residential care facilities is to persuade veterans to immediately sign long-term residential care facility contracts and offer to defer rental payments based upon assurances that the residential facility can persuade the VA to process such a claim more quickly and ensure the award of a pension.

The Attorney General’s Office provides a toolkit to serve as a guide for relevant statutes and regulations, as well as a platform to discuss best practices and developing trends. Zoeller said his colleagues in offices of state attorneys general nationwide will be better equipped to navigate the diverse issues and complex laws concerning the military community.

Military service members can also visit www.IndianaConsumer.com/military/ or military.ncpw.gov for free resources including sample letters to creditors and leaseholders.
Contact Information:
Name: Jaime Barb
Phone: 317-234-8105
Email: jaime.barb@atg.in.gov
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Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • IN.gov Category:
  • Government
  • Agency Name
    Attorney General

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