Thursday, 03 07, 2013
Shelley Catharine Johnson
Deputy Communications Director
Attorney General Jack Conway has joined the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Attorneys General from Illinois, Indiana and North Carolina in developing a legal "toolkit" to help protect military servicemembers who are often targeted by unscrupulous businesses and scam artists. The toolkit will be provided to all Attorneys General to assist their offices in identifying and addressing common consumer protection issues facing servicemembers and veterans.
The initiative was taken in conjunction with the Consumer Protection Working Group of the President's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF), which is focused on preventing victimization of military servicemembers and their families. In recent years, a growing number of servicemembers have been targeted by scam artists or fraudsters using deceptive and criminal schemes. The toolkit outlines a range of consumer issues affecting servicemembers, including mortgage and credit issues, automobile financing, and GI Bill education benefits.
"Our servicemembers risk their lives every day to protect our nation and defend our freedom," said General Conway, who serves as co-chair of the Consumer Protection Committee of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG). "We in law enforcement need to do what we can to protect our nation's heroes from abusive lending practices, scammers and other unscrupulous businesses that prey on the men and women of our Armed Services."
The toolkit is designed to assist and encourage other state Attorneys General to more effectively combat scammers and fraudsters who seek to take advantage of our servicemembers.
"Protecting our servicemembers and veterans from financial fraud is our obligation to those who have given so much to keep us safe. That is why it is a priority of the Department of Justice and of the Consumer Protection Working Group," said Stuart F. Delery, who leads the DOJ's Civil Division and co-chairs the Consumer Protection Working Group of the FFETF. "We hope these toolkits will help State Attorneys General identify and stop those who target military consumers for financial gain, as we on the federal level do the same."
Members of the military who believe they may have been taken advantage of, have questions about a company, or who face a consumer-related issue should contact their Attorney General for assistance.
The Office of the Kentucky Attorney General may be contacted at 1-888-432-9257 or (502) 696-5300 or by email at Consumer.firstname.lastname@example.org .
Protecting our Military Men and Women
In June 2012, General Conway led a group of 20 Attorneys General in securing a settlement with QuinStreet, Inc. over its operation of a website called GIBill.com. GIBill.com appeared to be a government website with information about GI Bill benefits, but was in fact a lead generator for the for-profit college industry. The settlement secured $2.5 million and transferred GIBill.com to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Attorney General Conway also wrote a letter to Congress asking lawmakers to require that GI Bill and Veteran's Assistance educational benefits be subject to the 90/10 rule, which prohibits for-profit colleges from deriving more than 90 percent of their revenue from the federal government.
In August 2011, General Conway joined Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper and Holly Petraeus, Director of the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau's (CPFB) Office of Servicemember Affairs (OSA), at Fort Campbell to help provide soldiers and their families with the appropriate tools and information to protect themselves against scam artists and unscrupulous businesses.
The Attorneys General and Mrs. Petraeus also participated in a roundtable discussion and town hall style meeting that allowed them to hear directly from soldiers and their families and answer questions on financial issues, consumer purchases, scams, GI Bill benefits and for-profit colleges that target servicemembers.