Joins national effort to help military families avoid scams and fraud
OLYMPIA – Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson joins other government agencies, advocacy organizations and private sector groups today, July 16, 2014, in commemorating the second annual Military Consumer Protection Day.
“The men and women who serve to protect our country don't deserve to be taken advantage of by businesses that don't play by the rules," said Ferguson. “I am making sure that my office stands firmly for military families against fraud and scams.”
Focusing on veterans and military families is a priority for the Attorney General. Since taking office, Ferguson created a “Military and Veterans Legal Resource Guide” to help veterans, military personnel and their families understand their legal rights and protections. The guide includes information on the consumer laws and protections unique to veterans and military families. The office expects to issue a revised version of the guide by the end of July.
Last year, the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division began asking consumers about their military or veteran status when filing a complaint with the office. By doing so, the Attorney General’s Office can better track consumer issues specific to veterans and military families. From July 2013 through June 2014, the first full year of asking consumers about their military or veteran status, the office received more than 2,500 complaints from veterans and military personnel, and helped recoup almost $750,000 for those consumers.
This year, Ferguson requested legislation to improve the consumer protections available for veterans and military families in Washington. Under a new law strengthening economic protections for military personnel, which took effect June 12, the Attorney General has new enforcement authority related to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). The SCRA provides various financial and legal protections for active duty military service members.
To enforce the SCRA and other consumer protection laws protecting veterans and military families, Ferguson recently hired a former Army lawyer who earned a Bronze Star for his military service in Iraq. He will begin his service to the state in August.
Washington is home to a number of major military installations, such as Joint Base Lewis–McChord, Fairchild Air Force Base, Naval Base Kitsap and Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. Between active duty military personnel and members of the National Guard and Reserve, there are more than 64,000 service members in Washington.
Military Consumer Protection Day is a joint initiative that collaborates to share tips and information for veterans and military families about managing money, dealing with credit and debt, building savings, protecting personal information, recognizing identity theft, and avoiding fraud. More information about the coalition and the resources offered is available at www.military.ncpw.gov.
For more information on how the Attorney General’s Office helps veterans, military personnel and their families, click here.
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The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the state of Washington with attorneys and staff in 27 divisions across the state providing legal services to roughly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions. Attorney General Bob Ferguson is working hard to protect consumers and seniors against fraud, keep our communities safe, protect our environment and stand up for our veterans. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.
Alison Dempsey-Hall, Acting Communications Director, (206) 442-4482, firstname.lastname@example.org