By Ryan Rico, I Corps Office of the Staff Judge AdvocateJuly 17, 2019
JOINT BASE LEWIS MCCHORD, Wash. -- Identity theft, credit reports and deceptive advertising were just a few of the topics discussed at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Military Consumer Protection briefing hosted by the I Corps Legal Assistance Office at the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate training room at JBLM July 11.
This year, the Department of Defense's Military Consumer website designated July as Military Consumer Protection month in partnership with more than 50 other organizations. The goal of the designation is to educate service members on how not to become a victim of identity theft and other financial issues.
Krista Bush, an attorney with the Federal Trade Commission, briefed attendees on the functions of the FTC and gave them information on why and how service members become victims of identity theft.
Due to the fact they have a steady stream of income and are required to pay their debts to maintain security clearances, they are often targeted by less than reputable creditors or scammers.
Bush said the best way for service members to protect themselves from becoming a victim is to educate themselves on their own financial history. This includes reviewing their credit report regularly, subscribing to scam alerts from the FTC and filing consumer complaints when necessary. Filing complaints will assist the FTC in finding potential criminals before they target others.
Finally, service members should also contact their state's attorney general to find out what state protections exist if they do become a victim of identity theft.
For more information on how service members can protect against becoming a victim of identity theft, visit, https://www.militaryconsumer.gov/protect/best-practices-empowered-consumers/responding-identity-theft.