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Know Your Rights

Understanding your consumer rights and protections is a very important part of your financial well-being. And it’s even more important to those serving in the military.

Scammers are everywhere these days. There are always people who try to take advantage of others for financial gain. Stay aware — learn about what you can do to protect yourself as a consumer and Service member.

Military Consumer Protection Laws

There are two important consumer protection laws designed specifically for Service members, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and the Military Lending Act (MLA). Both laws protect Service members on active duty and active members of the Guard and Reserve on Title 10 orders.

SCRA protections include:

  • Ability to terminate cell phone, cable, and internet contracts
  • Termination of residential and auto leases
  • Postponement of foreclosures and evictions
  • Installment contract protection
  • 6% interest rate cap on debts incurred before active duty
  • Stay of certain civil court proceedings
  • Delay of enforcement related to certain taxes, including personal and real property taxes
  • Life insurance coverage protections

MLA protections include:

  • 36% interest rate cap on most types of consumer loans
  • No mandatory waivers of consumer protection laws
  • No mandatory allotments
  • No prepayment penalty

The Fair Credit Reporting Act now requires the nationwide consumer reporting agencies to provide free credit monitoring for active-duty military consumers. Sign up with the credit reporting agencies at their websites below:

Identity Theft Protection

Did you know that Service members are more likely than other adults to report identity theft? This Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report highlights the increased rate of identity theft reporting by Service members.

Tip: Signs of potential identity theft include missing bills, unauthorized accounts on credit reports, unsolicited credit cards or bills, and credit denial.

Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself:

  • Safeguard your mail

  • Save receipts

  • Shred documents

  • Check your credit report regularly

  • Secure your wallet or purse

  • Review account statements

  • Notify creditors of address updates

  • Place active-duty alerts and/or security freezes on your credit report prior to deployment

Tip: If you ever find yourself the victim of identity theft, visit the FTC to report and make a plan for recovery.