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Home Repair Scam Appears to Target Military Families

Link: DefenseLink News Article

WASHINGTON, Sept. 17, 2008 – The letter that appeared in a soldier’s mailbox promised an offer almost too good to be true: a home improvement loan approved by Congress and backed up by a government agency.

Officials at the Federal Citizen Information Center fear it’s a scam targeting military members that uses the center’s credibility to lure victims in.

An eagle-eyed soldier notified the Federal Citizen Information Center after receiving the ad from the “Home Information Center” linked to post office boxes in Dallas and in Owasso, Okla. The letter included a reference to FCIC’s Web site in an apparent attempt to show a federal endorsement.

“The thing that immediately sends up a red flag is the fact that [the advertisement] says these loans are approved by the U.S. Congress,” said Mary Levy, director of consumer education and outreach in the FCIC’s Office of Citizen Services. “Congress would absolutely never approve any particular home improvement loan.”

In addition, she said, the Federal Citizen Information Center has no association with the Home Information Center. Levy emphasized that home improvement services are regulated at the state and local level, not by the federal government.