The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently announce their new initiative aimed at scammers that try to take advantage of military service members, their families, and veterans.
The Repeat Offenders Against Military Database (ROAM) is designed as a single focal point of information about financial scams for local and national law enforcement to utilize to quickly identify scam patterns.
New York’s Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, discovered a company outside the Army post at Fort Drum, NY that was selling electronics to soldiers at wildly inflated prices and locking them into high-interest contracts. He later found that various related companies operated storefronts near other military installations in California, Tennessee, Colorado, Georgia, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, and overseas. If ROAM had been available, it might have prevented that scam from spreading and saved servicemembers thousands of dollars.
The ROAM project marks the first national effort to tie law enforcement and regulators together in a coordinated effort to address the financial scams that specifically target military members.
The Federal Trade Commission operates Military Sentinel, which is an invaluable database of consumer complaints from the military community, but it does not report on completed enforcement actions. ROAM will have information on formal actions against perpetrators of financial schemes targeting the military. Law enforcement officials across the country, including state Attorneys General, United States Attorneys, local officials, and Judge Advocates (JAGs), will be able to contribute to and search the database.
Information can be contributed to the ROAM project by sending information about formal actions to ROAMDatabase@cfpb.gov.