Make July 16 Matter - Guest Post by Holly Petraeus, Assistant Director for Servicemember Affairs. In case you haven’t heard, Military Consumer Protection Day (MCPD) is on July 16th this year. If you’re not familiar with MCPD, this is a great chance to learn about the organizations and resources that can help you protect and grow your hard-earned military pay or veterans benefits. In a perfect world, managing your money would be simple and easy, right? But in reality managing your money is an ongoing process that takes time, effort, and vigilance. Learning how can put you on a course to financial well-being. But sometimes even the most financially savvy consumer can make an ill-advised choice or fall victim to a scam. And that’s when it’s important to know where to find help. In 2013, the CFPB and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) together received more than 81,000 complaints from military consumers. While these complaints ranged from identity theft to student loan debt to veteran-targeted pension scams, the most important common factor in all the complaints was that the member of the military community who submitted the complaint had taken the time to seek help on a pressing consumer issue from a trusted source. Take a minute to ask yourself — who would you turn to if you need help with a consumer or financial problem you couldn’t solve on your own? A friend? A colleague? A family member? Even though you trust them, a better-informed resource could be us, our MCPD partners, a military personal financial manager, an attorney general’s office or one of many other state and local organizations that specialize in helping protect servicemembers, veterans and military families from financial harm. This year, we’re joining more than 35 other federal and state government, and non-profit organizations – including the Department of Defense, the Federal Trade Commission, Military Saves and the Better Business Bureau– to observe MCPD and highlight free consumer protection resources for military members. Remember that when it comes to consumer issues, information is your first defense. Visit https://www.military.ncpw.gov/ to find out what information, tools and resources are available to help you guard against consumer fraud, illegal business practices and bad financial deals. And if you have an issue with a consumer financial product or service that you haven’t been able to work out yourself— complain. We are here to help. One day a year may be set aside for MCPD, but protecting your financial well-being should be something you think about every day. Make this July 16th the day you start building or improving your defenses!
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