Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway and Holly Petraeus Discuss Consumer Protection Issues with Fort Knox Community
Attorney General Jack Conway and Holly Petraeus, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Office of Servicemember Affairs, joined forces today to hear firsthand the financial challenges that Fort Knox soldiers and their families face as a result of unscrupulous business practices. Attorney General Conway also unveiled a new online toolkit for servicemembers and their families.
“Our military servicemen and women, who risk their lives to protect our country, should not have to defend themselves and their families against scams or misleading and predatory business practices,” Attorney General Conway said. “I am committed to improving consumer protection measures for Kentucky’s military families, and I’m pleased to be partnering once again with Mrs. Petraeus to help provide our soldiers with the tools and assistance they need if they feel they have been scammed.”
During a roundtable discussion and town hall-style meeting today, Attorney General Conway, staff members from his Office of Consumer Protection, Mrs. Petraeus, and members of Fort Knox’s Community Service Financial Readiness Program were able to talk with soldiers and their families about making sound financial decisions and consumer purchases. Additionally, the officials encouraged servicemembers who feel they may have been taken advantage of to file complaints with the appropriate authorities.
In 2011, Attorney General Conway and Holly Petraeus also visited Fort Campbell to discuss consumer protection-related issues with soldiers based at that post. Mrs. Petraeus knows all too well the strains facing America’s troops and their families. Formerly with the Better Business Bureau’s Military Line program, Mrs. Petraeus now serves as director of the Office of Servicemember Affairs.
“I am pleased to join Attorney General Conway to hear firsthand from servicemembers, veterans, and community leaders about their consumer financial issues,” Mrs. Petraeus said. “I appreciate their input and suggestions, and will be mindful of what I heard in Kentucky as I pursue my efforts at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau."
So far this year, Fort Knox’s Army Community Service Financial Readiness Program has assisted 500 soldiers and their family members with a variety of issues, including identity theft, credit reports, vehicle purchases, foreclosure avoidance, investment products and work-at-home scams.
“Our financial readiness team does a superb job supporting soldiers and family members, and its mission is right in synch with what the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Kentucky Office of the Attorney General do every day,” said Col. T.J. Edwards, Fort Knox garrison commander. “Dedicated organizations like these and their people are making a difference in protecting our Army families.”
New Online Toolkit for Servicemembers
Attorney General Conway and his Office of Consumer Protection unveiled today an online consumer protection toolkit for servicemembers. The Consumer Protection Guide for Military Servicemembers provides useful tips and resources on nearly a dozen consumer-related issues tailored to servicemen and women and their families, including identity theft prevention, mortgage scams, debt collection, payday lending and for-profit schools.
“Servicemembers represent a unique target for scammers,” General Conway said. “They receive paychecks on a regular basis and families are often separated during deployments. This makes them targets for those who want to make a quick buck. This toolkit provides important information that our military members can use every day to protect themselves and their families from financial harm.”
The Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Guide for Military Servicemembers is available at ag.ky.gov/consumer.
Protecting Our Military Personnel
Attorney General Conway, along with the CFPB and 12 other state attorneys general, announced a settlement on July 28 resolving allegations that consumer lender Rome Finance, which specialized in providing consumer financing to military servicemembers, engaged in predatory lending practices that cost servicemembers tens of millions of dollars. As a result of the settlement, 228 Kentucky servicemembers will receive a total of $1.2 million in debt relief. Nationwide, the settlement impacts more than 17,800 servicemembers who will receive $92 million in debt relief. For more information about the settlement, visit ag.ky.gov.
In June 2012, Attorney 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 it was actually a non-government related lead generator for the for-profit college industry. The settlement secured $2.5 million and transferred GIBill.com to the Department of Veterans Affairs.