Photo: United States Marine Corps
With more than 3,000 Hoosier National Guard troops preparing for deployment in the next several months, the Indiana Attorney General’s office is working to raise awareness about how servicemembers and their families can protect themselves against financial scams.
Attorney General Greg Zoeller hosted the Civil Justice Summit in Indianapolis on Wednesday. Its focus was on consumer protections for military personnel and their families.
Holly Petraeus, the director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Servicemember Affairs and wife of CIA Director David Petraeus, spoke at the summit. She says the guaranteed paychecks military personnel receive along with penalties in the uniform code of military justice for not paying bills and debts put servicemembers and their families at greater risk.
“Someone knows that they can not only tap into that money but they have some threats that they can hold over their head when they try to collect from them,” she says.
Delaware Attorney General Beau Bide, the son of Vice President Joe Biden and a captain in his state’s National Guard, says members of the military must be more aware of the Servicemember Civil Relief Act. The law is aimed at protecting deployed servicemembers and their families.
Those protections include limiting interest rates charged to deployed military personnel, allowing for suspension or termination of leases and contracts and delaying civil proceedings and actions. Attorney General Zoeller says a recently established website is intended to act as a one-stop shop for military families who have questions about the issue.