News Release: Pam Bondi's Press Office
July 15, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—National Military Consumer Protection Day is July 16, and Attorney General Pam Bondi is dedicated to protecting Florida’s Armed Forces members from scams and deceptive business practices. In 2013, Attorney General Bondi worked with the Legislature to enhance the state’s consumer protection law to better protect Florida’s military men and women who are victims of deceptive practices. The result was the Military Protection Act. The Act provides that a person who willfully uses an unfair or deceptive practice directed at a military service member, or the spouse or dependent child of a military service member, is liable for a civil penalty of up to $15,000 for each violation.
“Our military men and women have fought for our country, and we will do everything within our power to fight for them,” stated Attorney General Pam Bondi. “Scammers who lie and deceive our service men and women are a disgrace to this state, and we will aggressively pursue them to ensure a fair marketplace for our military members.”
The federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act also provides protections for active military service members. The law suspends certain civil obligations for active duty members of the Armed Forces so they can focus their full attention on their military responsibilities without adverse consequences for them or their families. The Act offers the following protections:
- Interest rates can be capped at 6% for most preexisting loans, including mortgages, credit cards and auto loans.
- Automobile leases can be terminated without an early termination fee.
- Cell phone service contracts can be terminated without an early termination fee.
- Residential leases can be terminated without an early termination fee.
- Active duty service members and their dependents may not be evicted without a court order.
- An active duty service member’s home may not be foreclosed upon without a court order.
Service men and women about to deploy can take important steps to protect their finances while deployed. For example, a service member can grant a trusted family member or spouse power of attorney, which authorizes that person to sign important documents and take other actions on the service member’s behalf.
Additionally, military members should ensure that they have sufficiently protected themselves against identity theft, which can be exacerbated for service members on active duty. Military men and women can place an “active duty alert” on their credit reports at no cost. An “active duty alert” on a credit report requires businesses to go through certain steps before granting credit in the name of active duty personnel.
Consumers who suspect scams or other fraudulent activity can file a complaint by calling 1(866)-9-NO-SCAM or by visiting This LINK.