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Mrs. Petraeus, Attorney General speak with Warren Airmen about consumer protection

Holly Petraeus,  Servicemember Affairs Consumer Financial Protection Bureau assistant director; meets with 90th Missile Maintenance Squadron Airmen during her visit to Uniform-1 Oct. 3.

Holly Petraeus, Servicemember Affairs Consumer Financial Protection Bureau assistant director; meets with 90th Missile Maintenance Squadron Airmen during her visit to Uniform-1 Oct. 3.

Holly Petraeus,  Servicemember Affairs Consumer Financial Protection Bureau assistant director, speaks to members of the  press  as Colonel George Farfour, 90th Missile Wing vice commander, and Gregory Phillips, Wyoming Attorney General, look on. The press conference was held at Fall Hall followed by a town hall meeting Oct. 3. (U.S. Air Force photo by Matt Bilden)

Holly Petraeus, Servicemember Affairs Consumer Financial Protection Bureau assistant director, speaks to members of the press as Colonel George Farfour, 90th Missile Wing vice commander, and Gregory Phillips, Wyoming Attorney General, look on. The press conference was held at Fall Hall followed by a town hall meeting Oct. 3. (U.S. Air Force photo by Matt Bilden)

Holly Petraeus,  Servicemember Affairs Consumer Financial Protection Bureau assistant director, gets an up-close look at the Launcer Closure Door at Uniform 1 training launch facility, from  Col. George Farfour, 90th Missile Wing vice commander, Oct. 3. (U.S. Air Force photo by Matt Bilden)

Holly Petraeus, Servicemember Affairs Consumer Financial Protection Bureau assistant director, gets an up-close look at the Launcer Closure Door at Uniform 1 training launch facility, from Col. George Farfour, 90th Missile Wing vice commander, Oct. 3. (U.S. Air Force photo by Matt Bilden)

Holly Petraeus,  Servicemember Affairs Consumer Financial Protection Bureau assistant director; Col. George Farfour, 90th Missile Wing vice commander; and David DuBois Office of Servicemember Affairs Consumer Financial Protection Bureau deputy director, sit down with local community members at the Airmen and Family Readiness Center as part of her visit to F.E. Warren Oct. 3. (U.S. Air Force photo by Matt Bilden)

Holly Petraeus, Servicemember Affairs Consumer Financial Protection Bureau assistant director; Col. George Farfour, 90th Missile Wing vice commander; and David DuBois Office of Servicemember Affairs Consumer Financial Protection Bureau deputy director, sit down with local community members at the Airmen and Family Readiness Center as part of her visit to F.E. Warren Oct. 3. (U.S. Air Force photo by Matt Bilden)

Holly Petraeus,  Servicemember Affairs Consumer Financial Protection Bureau assistant director, speaks to Airmen during a town hall meeting  as Col. George Farfour, 90th Missile Wing vice commander; Gregory Phillips, Wyoming Attorney General; and Clyde Hutchins, Wyoming Air National Guard Consumer Protection Attorney, look on. The town hall meeting was held at Fall Hall Oct. 3. (U.S. Air Force photo by Matt Bilden)

Holly Petraeus, Servicemember Affairs Consumer Financial Protection Bureau assistant director, speaks to Airmen during a town hall meeting as Col. George Farfour, 90th Missile Wing vice commander; Gregory Phillips, Wyoming Attorney General; and Clyde Hutchins, Wyoming Air National Guard Consumer Protection Attorney, look on. The town hall meeting was held at Fall Hall Oct. 3. (U.S. Air Force photo by Matt Bilden)

Holly Petraeus,  Servicemember Affairs Consumer Financial Protection Bureau assistant director, speaks to members of the  press  as Col. George Farfour, 90th Missile Wing vice commander, and Gregory Phillips, Wyoming Attorney General, look on. The press conference was held at Fall Hall followed by a town hall meeting Oct. 3. (U.S. Air Force photo by Matt Bilden)

Holly Petraeus, Servicemember Affairs Consumer Financial Protection Bureau assistant director, speaks to members of the press as Col. George Farfour, 90th Missile Wing vice commander, and Gregory Phillips, Wyoming Attorney General, look on. The press conference was held at Fall Hall followed by a town hall meeting Oct. 3. (U.S. Air Force photo by Matt Bilden)

F. E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. --
Airmen at F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., had the opportunity to learn more about consumer protection, and to voice their concerns over the issue, in the Fall Hall Community Center Oct. 3.

Holly Petraeus, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Office of Service Member Affairs, was joined by Wyoming Attorney General Gregory A. Phillips, to raise awareness among the base community of the new Service Member Affairs office, headed by Petraeus.

"We are pretty brand new," Petraeus said. "We have a steep uphill challenge to let military members know what we can do for them.

"Part of my strategy is to go out in person to the different states, stand up with the attorneys general and get some visibility in the press so people hear about us.

During the town hall meeting, which saw full attendance in the Fall Hall Community Center, Petraeus discussed some of the 2,500 cases her office has handled, and things military members can do to avoid problems.

"It's a lot easier to help someone avoid signing a bad contract than to help them once they've committed their signature to paper," she explained.

Her visit was also an opportunity to teach Warren's younger Airmen about financial dangers.

"A lot of people entering the service are already in debt for a variety of reasons," she added. "We want to get to them as soon as possible to help them make good choices about managing their money and to avoid some of the pitfalls out there."

The CFPB, created in 2010, officially began July 1, 2011. Since then, Petraeus has visited more than 35 military bases with each state's Attorney General.

The Attorney General for Wyoming, Gregory A. Phillips, has pledged his support to coordinate activities to improve consumer protection measures for military families, signing a memorandum of understanding with the CFPB Sept. 17.

"There are a lot of abuses out there that no one could defend, and a lot of abuses that should be taken on head-on," Phillips said.

Phillips plans to expand the consumer protection division of his office, eventually, he hopes, hiring on a second attorney to investigate consumer claims.

Petraeus said while the office is still new and in the process of becoming more familiar among servicemembers, it has already made an impact, recouping almost $250,000 for military members.

"Education is a huge challenge," she added. "We think that number will increase as people hear about us."