Roy Cooper, North Carolina attorney general will visit Fort Bragg, Tuesday, to let servicemembers know that they can be prime targets for scammers.
He wants to help protect servicemembers from bad deals and shady businesses, said Noelle Talley, public information officer, North Carolina Department of Justice, in an email exchange with the Paraglide.
Cooper’s presentation is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m., at the Family Readiness Group Center at Pope Field.
Experts from the Consumer Protection Division, charged with preventing unfair trade practices, will give presentations on identity theft, credit and lending, and automobile sales and repairs.
Some of the current scams that target servicemembers include advance fee loan scams that guarantee easy access to loans; unfair deals when purchasing a vehicle; investments that carry high fees; and purchasing unnecessary insurance under pressure.
To avoid being victimized, a servicemember should avoid loan brokers who charge up-front fees; research a car’s history or have a mechanic check it out; use the military’s savings deposit program to protect money; and use the Servicemember’s Group Life Insurance plan for insurance needs.
According to Talley, consumers can visit the N.C. DoJ website for tips before making a major purchase or financial decision.
Servicemembers should not think that being assigned to Fort Bragg insulates them from being the target of scams.
“In this day and age, scams can take place in person, over the phone, by mail, online, by email or text,” added Talley. “With technology, a scammer can be anywhere in the world and reach victims here in North Carolina.”
However, if a servicemember falls victim to a scam, he or she should file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division online at www.ncdoj.gov/complaint.aspx or by calling toll-free within North Carolina to 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.
Being the victim of a scam could have career implications for any servicemember as it could affect security clearances.
Some steps to take to protect one’s identity include:
Protect one’s Social Security number
Destroy unnecessary documents
Order one, free credit report each year at www.annualcreditreport.com or call 877-322-8228
Get a free security freeze
Protect online information by avoiding phishing, or emails that claim to come from a bank, business or charity and request confirmation of personal information or account number.
Other actions to take to avoid being scammed are:
Become familiar with the off-limits list, published by the Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board to protect against those who use illegal business practices. The list can be accessed at www.bragg.army.mil/directorates/DES/pmo/Pages/default.aspx.
When faced with a monetary emergency, apply for financial assistance through the Army Emergency Relief loan program.
For more information, call 396-2507, toll-free at 1-877-272-7337 or visit www.fortbraggmwr.com/acs/army-emergency-relief.