During 2017, BBB Serving Northern Colorado and Wyoming reached over 900 airmen at F.E. Warren Air Force Base as part of our Military and Veterans Initiative programming. Of all the programs in the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust, one of our most valuable, yet least public, is the BBB Military and Veterans Initiative. Due to the nature of military service, members of our armed forces, veterans, and their families face unique challenges in the marketplace and are a common target of scams and fraud. The BBB Military and Veterans Initiative believes that “financial readiness equals mission readiness”. By equipping those who are enlisted, those who have served, and military families with financial literacy training, fraud alerts, and smart investing tips, BBB believes we help create a stronger, more ready military. Our BBB Military and Veterans Initiative activities are centered at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, WY. There, we present regularly to two different audiences. The First Term Airmen Center (FTAC) assists military personnel with financial services and helps airmen as they arrive at F.E. Warren for their first assignment in the Air Force. Right Start, a monthly information fair, helps airmen who are transferred to F.E. Warren integrate into the base community as smoothly and quickly as possible. Between the two programs combined, BBB Institute staff presented 30 times in 2017 to a total of 927 airmen. “Along with our partners at the F.E. Warren Airman and Family Readiness Center and Blue Federal Credit Union, we ensure airmen are armed with knowledge of scams and frauds targeting the military as well as how to use BBB services to make smart buying and giving decisions, to resolve disputes, and to report scams,” said BBB education and outreach manager Jennifer Hanhke, who coordinates BBB’s Military and Veterans Initiative programs. FTAC evaluations found that before the presentation, most new airmen had little exposure to BBB, but relied heavily on customer reviews to make purchases. After the presentation, consistently high numbers reported that they are likely to check with BBB before doing business with a company. Increased numbers also reported they were more likely to file a complaint or report a scam to BBB Scam Tracker. Our partners had this to say about BBB’s involvement in F.E. Warren’s educational programs: “It is so important for these young airmen to know where they can turn when they need help. Many of these students are out on their own for the first time and unfortunately people take advantage of them. I think the BBB presentation makes them aware that these things can happen and they need to be extra cautious. It also lets them know what they can do if something does happen to them.” - Kylee J. Sarah, Blue Federal Credit Union “Your organization's outreach for our new military members is a vital part of our Information Fair and provides our newcomers with a valuable service. We look forward to continuing this partnership and having BBB at our installation events.” - Ron Navarra, Community Readiness Consultant, Airman & Family Readiness Center BBB Serving Northern Colorado and Wyoming and our BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust are proud to serve those who serve us, and are committed to helping service members, veterans, and their families navigate an increasingly complicated and ever-changing marketplace. To learn more about our BBB Military and Veterans Initiative Activities, visit our program web page here.