July 9, 2019
July is Military Consumer Month, a good time to remind military families to watch out for scammers who target service members.
According to the BBB's Scam Tracker, military consumers who do get burned by a fraudster tend to lose more money than civilian consumers.
All too often, service members, who are focused on the challenges of military life, make quick decisions, which can leave them vulnerable to fraudsters.
It's important to slow down. Take the time to do your homework when making a significant purchase or taking out a loan.
Make sure you're dealing with a legitimate company, one that will deliver on its promises.
Payday Loans are not your best option for quick cash
Military families increasingly turn to payday loans to make ends meet: Twice as many now as compared to 2014, according to a recent survey by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC).
"Payday loans are not the answer for members of the military," said Bruce McClary, an NFCC vice president. "They're an expensive, high-fee, high-interest alternative that may be able to provide funds, but there's a significant cost that's really unnecessary considering all the other directions they could be turning when they have a need to borrow money."
Every branch of the military has a relief organization dedicated to helping service members in need.
"They can offer guidance, as well as payday loan alternatives, short-term borrowing that's much more affordable than turning to a private payday lender," McClary said.
You can also talk to a personal financial counselor (PFC) at the Financial Readiness Center located on every base. Most of PFC's are equipped to handle short-term financial challenges, but they're tied into a larger network of referral resources who can provide direction for more complicated situations.