Experts: identity thieves targeting more military families
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -
Scammers are taking advantage of more people who serve our country.
A growing number of military men and women are becoming targets of consumer fraud, especially those in their early 20's.
Carey Snipes provides financial counseling for Marine Corps Logistics Base Marine and Family Programs center in Albany. He says that a number of young military personnel are becoming targets of consumer fraud.
"We tend to have a majority that are under age twenty-five and so they are buying things for the first time like their first vehicle loans they are getting," says Snipes.
Snipes says companies use affinity marketing to lure young and in-experienced military personnel to take out loans, but age isn't the only thing that makes them a target, it's their constant relocation as well.
"Somebody may have my personal information in California after I leave, and they could open local accounts that wouldn't necessarily show up on a credit report," notes Snipes.
The Federal Trade Commission says they received 62,000 complaints in 2012 from military men and women.
Officials say that number could grow.
"The reason people don't come forward is because they may be embarrassed," says Snipes, "they may think that nobody is really going to do anything - I just gotta suck it up."
But protection efforts have been made by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to investigate companies that provide loans to military personnel that don't meet the legal requirements under the Military Lending Act and Service Member Relief Act.
Snipes says it's also the service men and women's responsibility to protect themselves from identity theft.
"The first thing [they can] do is regularly check their credit report and their credit score," says Snipes.
He says keeping up with accounts and using credit sparingly can lead to a healthy financial life for young military men, women and their families.
Experts say it can take between three months to a year to have your name cleared following identity theft.