BBB Military Line: Assistance for Military Personnel and their Families

  
     
November 11, 2008

As a partner in the Department of Defense Financial Readiness Campaign, BBB Military Line® brings BBB services to military members and their families. BBB Military Line has Memoranda of Understanding with the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, and reaches service members across the United States through local BBBs, as well as offering special military Web pages.

BBB is proud to be a partner in the Department of Defense (DoD) Financial Readiness Campaign. BBB Military Line offers a variety of free consumer services and materials to military personnel (including Reservists and National Guard), retirees, DoD civilians and their families.

It's easy to enter the BBB Military Line web site at the BBB Portal at: www.bbb.org Once there, one can sign up to receive the free newsletter which offers a variety of military-specific educational tips such as this one:

Did I Forget to Pay Back That Payday Loan?

BBBs and Attorney General's offices in several states are reporting a new telephone scam directed at individuals who took out payday loans via the internet several years ago. The scammers, who apparently have gained access to personal information from old internet payday lending records, claim to represent an official-sounding financial institution such as "U.S. National Bank," "Federal Investigation Bureau," or "United Legal Processing." They tell the victim that he/she has failed to make payment on an old payday loan, that their Financial Crimes Division is now in possession of the loan, and that the victim must pay up immediately or face dire consequences, up to and including arrest.

The scammers, who are reported to speak with a foreign accent, use classic scam tactics such as: threatening legal action or arrest; harassing the victims with repeated phone calls, often while they are at work; using bogus legal statements such as "affadavits are being filed against you" in order to intimidate; and using abusive language to frighten the victims into complying with their demands. Their success comes when individuals who may have had a number of payday loans several years ago begin to doubt themselves, fear that they may have left one unpaid, and give a credit card number or wire money to the persistent scammers.

If you receive one or more of these phone calls, don't forget that it is your right under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to demand a written copy of the document that created the debt, along with an account history. If the caller is unwilling to provide you with that, you should inform him or her that you are going to file a complaint with your local BBB, the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Protection Division of your State Attorney General's Office - and do so.

Military Personnel can find additional helpful information from the following sources:

The Federal Trade Commission:
www.ftc.gov/bcp/consumer

InCharge Education Foundation: www.militarymoney.com

Federal Citizen Information Center: www.consumeraction.gov

National Association of Insurance Commissioners:

www.naic.org/consumer_military_insurance.html

FINRA Investor Education Foundation: www.saveandinvest.org

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission: www.sec.gov/investor/military.html