Fraudulent companies are targeting our service men and women. That’s according to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Holly Patraeus, wife of General David Patraeus. The two spoke to a room full of cadets about financial protection at West Point. Our Venise Toussaint has the story.
WEST POINT, N.Y. -- Imagine signing a $1,600 car loan and having an interest rate so high you end up being charged 10 times the amount of money you bargained for. That’s what Holly Patraeus, wife of general David Patreus said happened to an unsuspecting soldier.
Mrs. Patraeus heads the service member Affairs of the Federal Consumer Protection Bureau-she and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand spoke to a group of Cadets at West Point about consumer and financial protection.
“One of the things that I hope to do is to serve as your advocate," said Senator Gillibrand.
About 100 cadets, all Political Science and Economics majors, listened as the two discussed consumer protection issues such as credit card and loan debt and the types of support available to service members. Among the sea of army fatigue, Orange County Executive Ed Diana.
“The cadets themselves asked the questions and got real life answers in real times, it was great," said Diana.
The women also talked about the need for companies to understand that soldiers deployed may not be immediately available to make certain mortgage or loan payments.
Over the past six months, Patraeus said her department had received more than 700 military complaints and recouped over 130,000 for service members.
“These fraudulent companies are out there. It’s ridiculous," said Diana.
The women said it's unfortunate that some would take advantage of those fighting for our country, but the federal government will fight back in soldiers' defence. Soldiers looking to report a scam or get more information can log on to www.ConsumerFinance.gov.