Bryan Cohen Jul. 17, 2013, 8:40pm
AUGUSTA, Maine (Legal Newsline) -- Maine Attorney General Janet Mills joined multiple state and federal organizations in celebrating the first annual Military Consumer Protection Day Wednesday.
Mills joined the Federal Trade Commission, Pine Tree Legal Assistance and the Department of Defense in celebrating the joint initiative, which is meant to empower active duty and retired service members, veterans, military families and civilians in the military community.
"It is unconscionable that some scammers are targeting soldiers and their families," Mills said in a statement. "Maine is proud of its tradition of military service going back to the Civil War, when our state sent a larger proportion of our population into service than any other state in the Union.
"It is unforgivable that anyone would take advantage of these men and women who put their lives on the line to preserve our freedom. These men and women in uniform need to be aware of the unique steps they should take to manage money, deal with credit and debt, build savings, protect personal information, recognize identity theft and avoid fraud."
In conjunction with the celebration, a website was launched to provide servicemembers and their families with tip sheets, free resources and blog posts from national consumer protection experts.
The website will help servicemembers to make better-informed decisions when managing their money.
"Military members have a lot on their plates," Mills said. "Dealing with the fallout from poor financial choices or worrying about debt collectors harassing their families should not be something they have to contend with.
"I encourage service members, active and retired, to visit this new website and to take steps to protect themselves from financial exploitation."
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act provides multiple protections to active-duty servicemembers, including protection against default judgments, mortgage foreclosures, evictions and repossession of property. The law also reduces the rate of interest for debts incurred before entering active duty to 6 percent.
The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also helps military members to plan for their future and protect their assets.