Consumer Bureau Protects Soldiers From Scams

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Holly Petreaus — the wife of four star Gen. David Petraeus, who will become CIA director next month — has been touring U.S. military bases. She leads an office in the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that watches out for soldiers. They can often be prey to loan sharks and financial scams.


Holly Petraeus has been out touring military bases all around the country. The wife of the four-star general and next CIA director, David Petraeus, is head of a new government office that aims to protect soldiers from financial abuses.

Blake Farmer of member station WPLN caught up with her on a recent stop.

BLAKE FARMER: I'm on the Tennessee-Kentucky state line outside Fort Campbell. Like many installations, just off post you'll find used car lots, payday lenders, and signs advertising special deals for soldiers.

Ms. HOLLY PETRAEUS (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau): For one thing, they are a target, and they're targeted because they do have an absolutely guaranteed paycheck.

FARMER: Holly Petraeus says the money comes every two weeks, and soldiers like Army Staff Sergeant David Madeux can even set up payments to come directly from that paycheck.

Staff Sergeant DAVID MADEUX (U.S. Army): It was like $189 a month-plus for three years.

FARMER: That's a total of $7,000 for a cheap laptop he used to talk to his family while deployed.

Sgt. MADEUX: I will like, oh, this will be easy, I'll pay it off before I get back, but I didn't realize how much it was I was paying.

FARMER: Aside from outright scams, a survey last year showed one in five service members recently secured a payday-type loan, and state attorneys general say for-profit colleges are pushing soldiers into programs harder than ever.

Holly Petraeus says it's affected the entire force.

Ms. PETRAEUS: The number one cause now of military security clearances being revoked is financial problems. And if you lose your security clearance, you then cannot do the job the military trained you to do.

FARMER: Petraeus has a goal to educate troops, but she says she's excited her agency also has authority to write rules that could shield service members from some money trouble.

For NPR News, I'm Blake Farmer at Fort Campbell.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from