CONSUMER ALERT: MILITARY CONSUMER PROTECTION DAY SET FOR JULY 16

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July 09, 2014

LITTLE ROCK – Members of the military face unique challenges such as frequent relocation or deployment overseas, and those challenges can make them more of a target for scams and fraud.

Because of that, consumer protection agencies from across the country have joined to promote Military Consumer Protection Day, an annual observance that focuses specifically on consumer education and information for U.S. active duty, reserve and National Guard personnel. Military Consumer Protection Day this year is Wednesday, July 16.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued this consumer alert today to call attention to Military Consumer Protection Day and to inform members of the military, their families and veterans about the consumer resources available to them.

“The special circumstances associated with military service sometimes make our service men and women more vulnerable to con artists,” McDaniel said. “That is why we are joining with organizations from across the country that recognize that information is the first line of defense in the consumer marketplace. It’s important that military households know about how to protect themselves from fraud, identity theft and scams.”

The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division website, www.GotYourBackArkansas.org, offers tips, tools and resources for all consumers. Of particular importance to military families, the Federal Trade Commission hosts military.ncpw.gov, which provides tips sheets, information and blog posts from national consumer protection experts.

McDaniel encouraged both active-duty service members and veterans to visit military.ncpw.gov.

Service members may be targeted by scam artists who promise “military discounts” on housing or purchases, but never provide such discounts. Members of the military are also subject to predatory lending schemes.

McDaniel said members of the military should be aware of the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, which provides several protections to those on active duty. Those protections include:

  • Debt protections: Interest rates for debts acquired before active duty cannot exceed 6 percent while on active duty.
  • Judgment protections: Service members on active duty may not have a civil judgment entered against them without the court first appointing counsel to represent the service member. Service members may request a delay of proceedings.
  • Mortgage protections: Interest on a mortgage may not exceed 6 percent during military service and up to one year after service ends, and service members are entitled to a stay of any sale, foreclosure or seizure of property during service.
  • Contract/lease protections: Service members may terminate residential or vehicle leases without penalty because of active duty service; generally, landlords may not evict a service member or his or her dependents during active duty; and some cell phone contracts can be terminated without penalty, depending on the distance and duration of the service member’s relocation.

For more information about military consumer issues, visit military.ncpw.gov. For information about this or other consumer matters, call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 482-8982 or visit www.GotYourBackArkansas.org

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