Watch out for scams that target military consumers, AG Cooper warns

Watch out for scams that target military consumers, AG Cooper warns

By / State News / Tuesday, 21 July 2015 04:00

RALEIGH, N.C. : July 15th, 2015 - North Carolina is the home to many military servicemembers, who are too often the targets of frauds and bad deals, Attorney General Roy Cooper warned on Military Consumer Protection Day.
“Our men and women in uniform make so many sacrifices to protect our country, and they don’t deserve to get ripped off by shameless scammers,” Cooper said. “We want military servicemembers and their families in North Carolina to know how to avoid problems, and know that they can turn to my office for help.”
Consumer protection resources for servicemembers of the armed forces and their families are available from Cooper’s Consumer Protection Division. Military consumers can also file complaints and get help directly from consumer protection experts on Cooper’s staff.
As part of an ongoing effort to help North Carolina’s military community avoid scams and consumer problems, the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division is participating in the third annual Military Consumer Protection Day on July 15. The nationwide event brings government organizations, consumer advocates and businesses together to raise awareness, share resources, and fight consumer issues that target members of the military.
Cooper shared these important tips for military personnel on Military Consumer Protection Day:
• Watch out for scammers who claim connections to the military to gain your trust and take your money.
• Say no to advance fee loans and credit cards. Legitimate lenders never charge money up front.
• Keep your credit safe. Use an active duty alert or a security freeze to protect your credit during deployment.
• Be cautious when buying a car. Get used cars inspected by a certified, trusted mechanic before signing paperwork or paying money.
• Stick to the insurance you need without all the extras. Resist hard sell tactics from insurance agents who try to sell extra insurance to military personnel.
• Shop around. Before making major purchases on items like electronics or cars, compare several options to avoid marked up prices and high interest rates.
•  Invest your money wisely. When considering savings options for your deployment pay, reenlistment bonus, or retirement, avoid risky investment deals and self-serving financial planners. Choose safe investments, like the Military Savings Deposit Program or a Roth IRA.
Cooper’s office is committed to fighting frauds and deceptive businesses that target the military community. For example, last year, Cooper won a $6.8 million settlement for North Carolina service members who were roped into illegal financing agreements and high interest rates by Rome Finance, Colfax Capital Corporation and Culver Capital, LLC. Cooper’s office has taken on businesses like GIBill.com and Freedom Furniture, Inc., which both used misleading tactics to exploit military consumers. Cooper has also joined 12 other state attorneys general to urge U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to better protect members of the armed forces from abusive lending practices like title loans, payday loans, and tax refund anticipation loans.
If military personnel or their family members experience a scam or consumer problem, they can file a consumer complaint with the Attorney General’s Office by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM toll-free within North Carolina or filling out the complaint form at www.ncdoj.gov. Complaints filed with the Attorney General’s Office will not be reported to servicemembers’ chain of command. More tips for military consumers and their families are available at ncdoj.gov/military.aspx, including a guide for military consumers.

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