The Better Business Bureau of Upstate NY will offer its full services to Air Force personnel and their families at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station to help prevent them from falling victim to unfair business practices, the group said Tuesday.
Members of the military increasingly have become targets for scam artists, especially those who are young and have steady pay. To combat unfair business practices toward military personnel nationally, the Better Business Bureau has been working with branches of the military.
"We started this program about five years ago. Men and women of the military are targets primarily because they are young and have a regular income. This program has helped put a dent in business abuses to members of the military," said David Polino, president of the local BBB.
Many members of the military and their families have fallen victim to scams from creditors, landlords and automobile dealers, said Polino.
"Some soldiers coming from Washington, D.C., are used to paying about $1,800 a month for renting an apartment. When they come to a place like Syracuse and get charged $1,200 a month for rent, they don't realize they are getting scammed," he said. "Members of the military are always targets by scammers, and we are proud to work with the military to prevent this."
The BBB Air Force Line helps Air Force personnel with complaints against businesses, provides reliability reports on businesses across the nation and identifies market trends that could impact Air Force personnel and their families. A Web site will also be available with information about programs the BBB offers.
The BBB Air Force Line also will work to educate Air Force personnel and their families about how to avoid being taken advantage of by businesses and false advertising.
"With spouses and family members being deployed, problems with finances might ensue if the family members at home aren't used to working with them. We want to ensure businesses treat military spouses and family members on a reasonable basis," said Neil Nolf, the base's public affairs officer.