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Consumer Financial Protection: Submitting a Complaint

Financial service and/or product complaints can be forwarded to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).  They will in turn send the complaint to the company in question to work a response. The company has 15 days to respond to you and the CFPB and they are expected to close all but the most complicated complaints within 60 days.  The Bureau sends the company's response to the complainant for review and feedback is accepted.

The CFPB also has the authority to enforce the Military Lending Act of 2012.  This law applies solely to active duty service members and their eligible family members and includes Payday, Vehicle Title and Tax Refund Anticipation Loans.  For more detailed information, see the Consumer Federation of America "Predatory Lending Protections for Service Members" guidance.

External Website: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Credit Card Fraud: How to Prevent It

Alex Miller notes:  "If you want to prevent credit card fraud, then you need to know how credit card companies treat fraud, the procedures for dealing with it, and your rights and responsibilities when it comes to unauthorized charges. This guide will walk you through the types of fraud you're likely to encounter, spotting fraud when it happens, and reporting it to the proper authorities."

This article offers the information noted below as well as a map depicting reports of fraud by state.

  • What Is Credit Card Fraud?
  • How To Identify Fraud
  • Who Pays For Credit Card Fraud?
  • How To Prevent Credit Card Fraud
  • Celebrity Cases of Fraud
  • Infamous Cases of Fraud
  • How To Report Credit Card Fraud
  • Take Extra Precautions When on Vacation
  • What To Do If Things Go Wrong
  • Card Issuer's Global Emergency Contacts

External Website: UpgradedPoints

Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC)

The "Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC)" recognizes the vulnerability of military members to various types of identity theft, fraud and scams.  ITRC is a DOD Partnership of Programs" participant working with all military Services--active duty, Reserve and Guard.  They also partner with the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, Yellow Ribbon Integration Program and the Hero2Hired organizations.

This site offers fact sheets and lists other national resources.

External Website: Identity Theft Resource Center

Identity Theft and Identity Fraud (Department of Justice)

Identity theft is a crime. The Department of Justice notes:

'Identity theft and identity fraud are terms used to refer to all types of crime in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person's personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain. Unlike your fingerprints, which are unique to you and cannot be given to someone else for their use, your personal data ­ especially your Social Security number, your bank account or credit card number, your telephone calling card number, and other valuable identifying data ­ can be used, if they fall into the wrong hands, to personally profit at your expense.'

This site lists web pages intended to explain why you need to take precautions to protect yourself from identity theft. It takes far longer to rectify what a criminal does to commit identity theft and/or fraud.

External Website: Department of Justice

Identity Theft: What It Is and What to Do (Federal Trade Commission)

You can reduce your risk of identity theft. If you think someone is using your personal information to open accounts, file taxes, or make purchases, visit IdentityTheft.gov to report and recover from identity theft. 

This Federal Trade Commission site provides the following information:

  • Steps you can take to help protect yourself from identity theft.
  • What you can do to keep your personal information secure.
  • Free community education resources.
  • Resources for businesses, law enforcement and attorneys.
  • Filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

External Website: Federal Trade Commission

Missing Money/Unclaimed Property

What is unclaimed property?  Unclaimed property is money owed to people by third parties, such as former employers, banks or utility companies. This money could be the result of money leftover in a forgotten account, overpayments or unpaid wages.  

Free Search Options


National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA)


Missing Money

MissingMoney.com is officially endorsed by NAUPA and the participating states and provinces. This site assists you in thoroughly searching all participating states to find your family's missing, lost, and unclaimed property, money and assets. Common types of unclaimed property include:

  • Bank accounts and safe deposit box contents
  • Stocks, mutual funds, bonds, and dividends
  • Uncashed checks and wages
  • Insurance policies, CD's, trust funds
  • Utility deposits, escrow accounts

Pay Assistance for Department of Defense Employees and Family Members

The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) is the agency responsible for prior and current Department of Defense employee pay-related issues.  They serve military members, retirees and annuitants, civilian employees, contractors and vendors. 

What might someone need help with? 

  • Pay including retirement and separation
  • Debts and claims
  • Garnishment
  • Correcting military records
  • Updating a mailing address
  • Direct deposit
  • Survivor Benefit Program (SBP) questions
  • Reporting a retiree's or annuitant's death

Contact Information

Military Members


Survivor Benefit Program (SBP)

1-800-321-1080, Option 1
M-F, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET

External Website: Defens Finance and Accounting Service

Public Assistance Programs

If you need personal assistance to get through a particularly challenging time, be prepared to complete applications for public benefits for eligibility determination.  Different programs serve varying purposes:  nutrition, housing, education, health care, etc.  There are usually associated limitations and conditions to better ensure those in need can be helped today and in the future.

External Website: Benefits.gov

Military Lending Act of 2012

The CFPB also has the authority to enforce the Military Lending Act of 2012. This law applies solely to active duty service members and their eligible family members and includes Payday, Vehicle Title and Tax Refund Anticipation Loans. For more detailed information, see the Consumer Federation of America "Predatory Lending Protections for Service Members" guidance.

External Website: Government Printing Office

Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA)

Deployed servicemembers and individuals called to active duty in the military are afforded protections under the Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA). This Act was formerly known as the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act (SSCRA). It is intended to postpone or suspend certain civil obligations to enable service members to give full attention to duty and relieve stress on the family members. Some examples of considered obligations include: 0utstanding credit card debt/interest rates, mortgage payments/interest rates/foreclosure, judicial proceedings, terminations of leases, installment contracts, life insurance, health insurance and income tax payments. In order to have a SCRA case reviewed by the Department of Justice (DOJ), the DOJ requires individuals to first seek the assistance from a military legal assistance office.

External Website: Stateside Legal

Veteran Disability Compensation: Protected from Garnishment

Veterans Administration (VA) disability payments are federally protected and ordinarily exempt from attachment (garnishment) of any kind to include from a creditor. While military disability compensation is protected from debt satisfaction, military retirement pay can be garnished. Some civil court judges are not aware of the difference between the two types of payments.

External Website: Federal Trade Commission