Federal Trade Commission and Department of Defense Announce Soldier Sentinel

For Release

The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Defense will create the first online system designed specifically to identify and collect consumer and identity theft complaints from members of the armed forces and their families. The system, named Soldier Sentinel, also will serve as a consumer protection and education resource. DoD and the Services will use the data collected to shape their consumer education and protection polices at the base, Service and DoD levels. The FTC and the DoD will create and maintain the Soldier Sentinel Web site that will be accessible via links from other DoD sites.

"Soldier Sentinel adds a new dimension to anti-fraud enforcement and education efforts," said Jodie Bernstein, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "It gives the military community - no matter how far-flung - a convenient way to file a complaint directly with law enforcement officials."

"We believe that this partnership is a win-win opportunity for both organizations," said Gail McGinn, acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Management Policy. "Our goals are similar--to protect our military members and their families and consumers around the world. This project provides a valuable resource for the Department and will assist us in promoting economic well-being by educating our military community consumers."

Soldier Sentinel will mirror the FTC's Consumer Sentinel system, a secure, password protected site containing a consumer complaint database and other tools designed to allow law enforcers to share data about fraud. Consumer Sentinel provides law enforcement agencies in the U.S., Canada and Australia immediate access to complaints involving Internet, telemarketing, direct mail and other consumer fraud, identity theft and other related consumer issues. Appropriate consumer fraud and identity theft complaints collected through Soldier Sentinel will be made available to over 250 law enforcement agencies through Consumer Sentinel. The Soldier Sentinel agreement also allows DoD and the Services to collect, share and analyze specific Service-related information.

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint, or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, write to the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; or visit the FTC's web site at http://www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies worldwide.

For more information about Soldier Sentinel contact:

Hugh Stevenson

Bureau of Consumer Protection

202-326-3511  

Kathy French

Bureau of Consumer Protection

202-326-2703  

Cdr. Rene Campos

Department of Defense, Office of Family Policy

703-697-9283

(FTC Matter No. P859900)

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