In recognition of Military Consumer Month, the Better Business Bureau Institute for Marketplace Trust and the Association of Military Banks of America will release a new report later this month on military consumers and marketplace trust. Every single day, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) receives business complaints and scam reports from military consumers, which provides us with critical data used to identify marketplace threats and resolve marketplace tensions. This report will examine the over 28,000 business complaints and nearly 5,000 scams reported by military consumers to the BBB in 2018.

According to the 2018 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report, military consumers lost 33% more money to scammers than non-military consumers last year with a median loss of $200 (compared with $150). We believe this increased susceptibility is in part due to the unique stressors that affect how military consumers and families interact in the marketplace. Knowing which businesses military families can trust while dealing with the challenges of military life is not easy. It’s during these times when consumers are more likely to make a quick purchasing decision—which can leave them vulnerable to scammers and fly-by-night businesses out to steal money from unsuspecting victims.

July is Military Consumer Month: a month-long effort run by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Office of Financial Readiness and the Federal Trade Commission to shed light on military consumers and their unique marketplace challenges and needs. Numerous nonprofit and governmental partners, including the Better Business Bureau, participate by promoting additional awareness and educational resources to military communities. BBB is proud to continue to support this campaign through its BBB Military Line® program.

Established in 2004, BBB Military Line® helps military service members, veterans and their families protect their assets, plan for the future, and prosper in a trusted marketplace. This program encourages the use of BBB consumer education materials, business reviews, charity reviews, and complaint and dispute resolution services to assist military consumers in navigating an ever-changing and often complex marketplace. In addition, BBBs across the U.S. and Canada offer interactive and engaging financial readiness workshops and participate in local coalitions and community events. Each month, the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust (BBB Institute) also publishes a military consumer newsletter, BBB Saluting Trust, which is distributed to more than 14,000 individuals.

We believe that these reports help shed light on the unique marketplace challenges and needs of military families, and help guide companies and organizations that serve our brave men and women in uniform to better protect their consumers. We are thankful to our partner on this project, the Association of Military Banks of America, and their members for their commitment to marketplace trust.

Learn more about BBB Military Line® and BBB’s resources and tools for military consumers at BBB.org/Military.