Zoeller, top experts discuss ways to protect military while they protect us


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – As Indiana prepares to deploy more than 3,000 National Guard troops in the coming months, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller gathered local, state and national leaders to discuss ways to protect servicemembers from financial scams.
Zoeller hosted the second Annual Civil Justice Summit, “Consumer Protections for Military Personnel and Their Families,” on Wednesday at Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis.

“Members of our armed forces and their families have different financial needs and can fall victim to fraudulent businesses looking to take advantage of servicemembers’ steady paychecks,” Zoeller said. “Our goal is to help provide financial education to those families and also crackdown on scams that prey on our vulnerable servicemen and women. It’s important we use the resources available to protect those that we ask so much of.”

Summit participants received an overview of the consumer protections in place to protect military personnel from financial scams and addressed ways to strengthen the legal assistance programs available to them.

Holly Petraeus, director of the Office of Servicemember Affairs for the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, was among the featured speakers. A longtime advocate for the military, Petraeus promotes financial education for those who serve and their families.
“I am pleased to be here with Attorney General Zoeller to speak about consumer protection for military families,” Petraeus said. “Servicemembers have volunteered to serve our country and often face unique financial challenges while doing so. The Office of Servicemember Affairs is dedicated to seeing that military families’ financial concerns are heard at the consumer agency and we are happy to work with state officials on military issues.”

Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, who also serves as a captain in the Delaware National Guard, joined the summit to address the various consumer protections provided under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and state law.
“We have a duty to protect those who protect us,” Biden said. “The men and women who serve our country should not have to worry about losing their home while they are overseas on military duty.”

The federal act mandates that military personnel on active duty in wartime are entitled to mortgage relief, including a lower interest rate on their mortgages and foreclosure protection. Biden also discussed ways to strengthen the SCRA and expand the protections it gives to servicemembers and their families.

Zoeller has been working with the Indiana National Guard and Adjutant General R. Martin Umbarger, who also joined the summit, to protect Hoosier servicemembers from identity theft while they are deployed. Zoeller recently launched a website, www.indianaconsumer.com/military, giving military families easy access to resources.