(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—In recognition of the first annual Military Consumer Protection Day (July 17), Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is encouraging active-duty military members and their families to report consumer complaints to his office.
“We receive some complaints from military service members, but we think there are many more who could be helped,” Attorney General DeWine said. “The last thing active-duty military members or their families should have to worry about is a consumer problem, but when they do, we offer a fast-track complaint process and certain legal services at no cost to military personnel.”
Each year, the Attorney General’s Office receives hundreds of complaints from consumers who identify themselves as active-duty military members or their immediate family members. Attorney General DeWine's Office expedites such complaints to quickly address the issues, which may involve debt collection, home improvement, or other transactions.
The office also provides a pro bono program for military members. Through the Patriot Program, volunteers from the Attorney General’s Office assist with consumer issues, such as terminating a cell phone contract or motor vehicle lease, and other legal issues including drafting wills and delegating power of attorney. For help through the Patriot Program, individuals should call 800-282-0515.
In addition to reporting consumer problems, service members and their families also should beware of military-specific scams. For example, in a twist to the “grandparent scam,” a scammer may target the elderly relatives of military personnel and claim that their grandchild, who is in the military, has been arrested and detained overseas. In order for the grandchild to be released, the elderly family member must wire money according to the scammer’s instructions. Any money sent will be lost. Similarly, scammers may contact the family members of a deployed service member and ask them to send money so that the service member can go on early leave. Again, any money sent will be lost.
During Military Consumer Protection Day, government agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Defense, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and state attorneys general join advocacy organizations, including Military Saves, and private sector groups to highlight free consumer resources for service members, their families, and veterans. The Military Consumer Protection Day website is www.military.ncpw.gov
To learn more about consumer protection issues or services for military members, Ohioans should contact the Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov
Dan Tierney: 614-466-3840
Kate Hanson: 614-466-3840