Service members are more vulnerable to identity theft and scams on digital payment apps than their civilian counterparts, according to a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) report released Monday.
Last year alone, CFPB received more than 66,400 service member complaints, a 55 percent increase compared to 2021, and a 62 percent increase compared to 2020. Servicemembers submitted more than 1,100 payment app complaints, one of the fastest-growing complaint types submitted to the CFPB. There was also a sharp rise in identity theft that led to unauthorized transfers, CFPB said.
Frequent relocation is one reason why service members are more vulnerable to these types of scams. “Permanent change of station orders can require a new round of home and apartment searches, spouse employment searches, and utility connections that may increase the risk of personal information falling into the hands of identity thieves,” CFPB said.
CFPB provided a list of recommendations for payment app providers, including providing more timely resolutions to complaints from service members struggling to get money returned from unauthorized transfers. Funds sitting in these accounts often lack deposit insurance protection.
NTEU is proud to represent CFPB employees, who support military families by providing educational resources on their unique challenges, monitoring complaints and working with other agencies to solve their problems.