Monday, January 10, 2011
Camp Pendleton officials say the appointment of Holly Petreaus as a consumer watchdog for military families is an important step in a battle to defeat scammers who target Marines.
Holly Petraeus, wife of David Petraeus, has been appointed to head a new consumer protection agency to protect military families from financial scams. Camp Pendleton officials see this as an important step in a battle to defeat scammers who target Marines.
Mike Hire of the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society on base said because the military get a steady paycheck, they are often targeted by financial scammers. Marines fell pray to payday loan stores, which can charge up to a 1000 percent interest annually.
But he said, four years ago, federal legislation prohibited payday loan operators from charging active duty military or their families more than 36 percent. He said before the change in the law, about half the people he saw every day – about 10 people – came for help because they were in trouble with a payday loan.
“I don’t see any of those any more for our active duty force,” he said.
Hire said he has not seen other scams to take advantage of Marines burgeoning recently.
But Hire said there are still plenty of areas where a federal consumer watchdog will make a difference. Young veterans who have left active duty, and retirees are still being targeted, he said, and car loans are not included in the payday loan interest rate restrictions.
Hire said he expects the new watchdog agency to focus on much-needed financial education for young Marines.