Predatory Practices Target your Military Family: Financial Preparedness During Transition

  
     
September 14, 2017

Military service members and families are familiar with change and transition. Because of their frequent mobility, military personnel are highly targeted by predatory business practices. Preparedness for financial challenges that may result from exploitative procedures is imperative to transition. Financial safety, scam awareness and identity theft prevention are essential to safeguarding service members through periods of change.

For those shifting into civilian life, financial change is imminent. From housing allowances to health care, the benefits active duty service members depend on are lost with retirement. Without military compensation, additional costs must be accounted for. For both the anticipated and unpredicted, establish a goal, plan an execution and achieve a financial foundation for your family. Financial literacy training, fraud alerts and smart investing resources exist to coach financial safety. The BBB’s Military Line seeks to equip those who serve, have served and their families with the tools they need to navigate an ever changing and often complex marketplace. If measures for financial safety are left unformulated, extensive attacks become threatening.

Veterans and those retiring from the military are an especially targeted population. Scammers prey on both active and retired military because of a mobile lifestyle and steady paycheck. Scammers may contact you by phone or email, claiming to be with a government agency such as the IRS, your bank or your medical insurance company.

  • When buying a car, be cautious of problematic vehicles disguised with military discounts. Sellers themselves might pose as military nearing deployment, listing the vehicle for cheap to sell the car quickly.

  • True debt collectors send written notice within five days of initially contacting you. This notice must include the name of the creditor to whom money is owed. They cannot claim that you will be arrested if your debt is not paid.

  • Read through contracts.

  • Keep copies of all documentation.

Report problems with debt collectors to the Attorneys General Office and the Federal Trade Commission. The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) can help you determine your rights under your state’s laws. Scams exploit personal information and risk the undoing of your financial stability.

A criminal act punishable by law, identity theft is a preventable threat. Each year, nearly nine million identities are stolen. Of these cases, 65% occur when your credit card is still in your possession. In 70% of these cases, victims know the thief as a family member, friend or neighbor. With secure precautions, you can avert access to your personal accounts and information.

  • Shred any document with personal information.

  • Create a different password for each account.

  • Place an active duty alert on your credit report.

  • Never give out your social security number.

If you happen to fall victim to identity theft:

  • Place a fraud alert on your account through a credit bureau.

  • Contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for assistance.

  • Keep a log of the resolution process.

Strategizing a financial outline for your family prior to transition advocates recuperation against unethical conventions. Financial workshops covering topics of home buying, retirement investment, identity theft and investments in higher education can aid in financial preparedness. BBB's Military Line stands to educate, provide services and protect active and retired military members and their families from scams.

For further information, contact us at (858) 637-6199 or visit our website bbb.org/sdoc.