Government: Scammers targeting members of military

(WMC-TV) – They have survived tough battles in Iraq and Afghanistan but many servicemen and women face big battles when they return home and become targets of scams.

The government's lead watchdog on fraud visited Millington Naval Air Station Wednesday to warn service members about being ripped off.

It was standing room only as service members packed into a Millington auditorium to talk about financial challenges.

"We feel the same strain that anybody does in the current housing crunch and current financial market," said Master Chief John Port, of the U.S. Navy.

And now financial strains are becoming worse for military service members as a new wave of scam artists try to take advantage of them.

"There are some egregious examples out there," said Holly Petraeus, director of the Offices of Service Member Affairs. "I recently saw a loan someone had given a service member that was an auto title loan at 400 percent interest."

Petraeus is the director of a new federal office that works to provide consumer protection to military members and their families.

"This is an agency that can supervise folks that play in the financial space like pay day lenders, private student lenders, credit reporting agencies," she said.

Petraeus is well suited for her new job. She's a military wife and her husband is retired General David Petraeus, who served as a commander in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Gen. Petraeus was picked by the president to head up the CIA and now both husband and wife are on a mission to protect the men and women who risk their lives protecting this country.

"Considering what they have done for all of us, it's important for us," she said. "I think it's incumbent for all of us to see what we can do to support them."

Petraeus said since her office opened last year, thousands of dollars have been recouped from pay day lenders and others who have ripped service members off.

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