Today in San Antonio, Texas the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is hosting a “Military Consumer Financial Workshop: Protecting Those Who Protect Our Nation” at Trinity University, to examine financial issues and scams that can affect military consumers, including active duty servicemembers in all branches and veterans.
According to an FTC announcement, the one-day workshop also will discuss FTC resources available to military consumer advocates and representatives on financial readiness and fraud prevention. The workshop will bring together military consumer advocates, consumer groups, government representatives (local, state, and federal), military legal services and legal clinics (including those at universities), and all service branches and industry representatives.
Topics of discussion will include:
- Auto purchase, financing, and leasing
- Student and other lending, including installment credit practices
- Debt collection
- Financial literacy and capability, including identity theft and financial resources
- Avoiding scams
The "Military Consumers' Experience in Debt Collection" panel includes:
- Thomas Kane
Senior Attorney, FTC Division of Financial Practices
- Anthony Davis
Team Lead, Community Readiness Consultant, Military and Family Readiness, JBSA Lackland Air Force Base
- Timothy Gasaway
Managing Attorney, Veterans Legal Assistance Project, Texas Legal Services Center
- Olha N. M. Rybakoff
Senior Counsel, Tennessee Office of Attorney General
- Mark Thompson
Owner and President, T. L. Thompson & Associates
Mark Thompson is the Owner and President of T.L. Thompson & Associates, Inc., a Dallas, Texas based agency started by his father in 1976. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1976 and was trained as an Operations Specialist (Radar Operator). After transferring to the Naval Reserve in 1989, Mr. Thompson was recalled to Active Duty for Operation Desert Storm in 1991, eventually retiring as a Chief Petty Officer in 2000.
Upon returning home in 1992, Mr. Thompson entered the family business and joined his two brothers as a Collector, later becoming the Training Manager, then Collection Manager, and eventually General Manager. Becoming active in his state organization, Mr. Thompson served as President of the American Collectors Association (ACA) of Texas in 2000—the very same year he was honored as the ACA Instructor of the Year. The experience of having been deployed overseas in combat zones, coupled with his knowledge as an ACA Instructor, has given Mr. Thompson a unique insight into the challenges facing all armed forces members, and the ability to effectively train collectors on how to treat service members with the dignity and respect that they have earned.
insideARM published a press release yesterday regarding a webinar co-produced by the Consumer Relations Consortium (CRC) and Consumer Action designed for community based organizers who work directly with consumers to offer an “insider’s perspective” on how to start a dialogue with a legitimate debt collector, and how to spot a scam. While not focused on the military, that webinar (like the FTC's workshop) is another great example of a partnership between industry and groups representing consumers to educate the public on how to protect themselves from financial scams.