The Trusted Scout header     
November 2013 l Volume III l Issue 11 
 

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PICTURE OF THE MONTH

  
A U.S. Marine inspects his weapon before a downed-vehicle exercise on Arta Range, Djibouti, Nov. 5, 2013. The Marine is assigned to the 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit.  U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Erik Cardenas
BBB Military Line is especially grateful to our 
*Sustaining Partners* 
whose support allows us to provide Consumer Information and Advocacy for members of the Military Community.  
 
Please visit our "Sponsors Page" for more information. 
 

 BBBs in ACTION!

 

   It was no accident that BBB Serving Northern CO and WY chose the 29th of October to launch their new "BBB Center for Fraud Prevention."  No gremlins or goblins dared enter the crowd of over 125 first responders, local business leaders, and state government officials; all having braved the cold and windy weather to listen to panel experts highlight the many pitfalls and predatory practices of the fraudsters among us.  The successful center launch has already lead to further collaboration among those in attendance---combining efforts to rid the world of vulturous financial scams and schemes.

 

   The day continued, with a visit to F.E. Warren Air Force Base, where BBB regularly supports financial readiness efforts.  Linking arms with Warren AFB's Installation's Personal Financial Manager and Warren Federal Credit Union, all three organizations provide instruction for the 4.5 hour mandatory financial readiness training for new Airmen.  They cover a wide array of topics that include basic budgeting, scams and fraud, and identity theft prevention.  In 2013, they held 19 training events and reached more than 400 airmen.  BBB also hosts a booth at Warren AFB's Right Start Information Fair. This is for newly transferred airmen from other bases. BBB provides information on BBB Military Line and hands out materials about scams and identity theft and how to check out local businesses. 

 

  Sincere thanks for a wonderful visit to F.E. Warren AFB and to Mr. Jim Headstream, Director, Airmen and Family Readiness Center and Mr. Bob Frohnapfel, Personal Financial Manager for hosting our BBB and setting up meetings with senior Airmen and senior spouses.  Congratulations BBB Serving Northern CO and WY, CEO, Pam King and BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust, Executive Director, Carrie Rossman for the successful launch of the "BBB Center for Fraud Prevention."

WHO WE SERVE

  

Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington move a palate of drinking water across the flight deck in support of Operation Damayan, in the Leyte Gulf, Philippines, Nov. 15, 2013. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Paolo Bayas 

MILITARY CONSUMER 

ISSUES & INITIATIVES

ACommissaries to Start Scanning IDs

Commissaries will soon begin scanning customers' Department of Defense ID cards at checkouts as the Defense Commissary Agency continues its efforts to deliver a 21st century benefit.

 

Commissary shoppers are used to showing their ID cards to establish their eligibility to use the commissary. By scanning the ID at checkout, DeCA will no longer need to maintain any personal information on customers in its computer systems, such as the system used for customers who write checks.

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B2014 COLA Announced: 1.5%

The 2014 COLA for military retired pay, Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuities, Social Security benefits, and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability and survivor benefits will be 1.5%. This change will be effective 1 December 2013 and it will first appear in the January checks, which will be paid on 31 December 2013.

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Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

The price of rubber is going up, which means tires are more and more expensive. That's where these tire rental places come in. Their marketing says: if you depend on your car to get to work, but you can't afford to buy four tires, rent them instead.

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CFPB Begins Accepting Payday Loan Complaints

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is now accepting complaints from borrowers encountering problems with payday loans. Payday loans, also known as "cash advances" or "check loans," are often short-term, small dollar loans, generally for $500 or less.

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Understanding Vehicle Financing

Tricare beneficiaries should see little impact from implementation of the Affordable Care Act because the military health care system was excluded from the law and Congress later passed legislation defining Tricare as meeting the act's insurance coverage requirements.

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 SCAM ALERTS

CScammers Emerge After Devastating Typhoon Haiyan

The scammers are at it again. With every horrific natural disaster, comes a despicable scammer who thinks they can make a quick buck off of the generosity of others. As the public's attention and hearts are focused on the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan, scammers are sending out fake messages claiming to be a victim of the disaster

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DSocial Security Number, Guard it with Your Life!

Keeping one's social security number sacred is common knowledge, and one might think that to even bother mentioning it might be preaching to the choir. Yet with all the warnings, Identity Theft is a growing problem. Reports are made to the Better Business Bureau on a daily basis, and our phone representatives are quick to give those victims guidance on how to proceed.

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Warning: New IRS Phone Scam

People from all over the country are falling victim to a recent phone scam by scammers pretending to be IRS agents. These IRS impersonators are calling up their targets, unsuspecting taxpayers and often immigrants, and demanding that they pay taxes they don't even owe, by either loading money on a prepaid card or sending it via a wire transfer. Those who refuse to pay immediately are then threatened by the "IRS agents." The threats include jail time, deportation, or the suspension of the victim's business or driver's license.

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The Pros and Cons of "Rent-to-Own" Furniture

"Rent-to-Own" has become a multi-billion dollar industry in the American economy. Consumers are attracted to this option for larger-scale purchases because it allows them to buy the goods they desire without paying the full price up-front. Also, because renters pay as they go, no credit is extended, credit reports on customers are not obtained and no debt is incurred. One of the most popular rent-to-own purchases is furniture because of its typically high prices and the fact that it is a general necessity for homeowners. Furniture also does not get outdated nearly as fast as electronics, so it makes more sense to be paying for furniture over a long period of time than it does for electronics. In general, rent-to-own may be a good option for consumers who cannot comfortably afford to pay the full price of an item in one payment. However, if you are considering this option, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of "rent-to-0wn."

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Online Car Buyers Beware - What You See Isn't Always What You Get

BBB Serving Greater Cleveland is warning online car shoppers that what you see isn't always what you get. According to JD Power, 79% of new-vehicle buyers use the Internet to research their new vehicle purchase during the shopping process. While online shopping is convenient, it can also be frustrating if you believe the auto dealer misrepresented the condition of the vehicle.

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As a partner in the Joining Forces Initiative and DOD Financial Readiness Campaign, BBB Military Line brings BBB consumer education and services to military personnel (including Reservists and National Guard), retirees, DoD civilians, and their families.