FTC and DOD Launch "Military Sentinel"

Online Consumer Complaint Database Designed to Help Combat Fraud Targeting the Military Community

For Release

The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Defense today announced the launch of Military Sentinel, the first online consumer complaint database specifically tailored to the unique needs of the military community. Located at www.consumer.gov/military, this new system is designed to give military service members in all parts of the world a convenient way to report fraud directly to law enforcement officials. Military Sentinel will facilitate the prosecution of cases by providing detailed information on consumer fraud and ID theft to more than 550 members of the Consumer Sentinel system, including both military and non-military law enforcement agencies in the United States, Australia, and Canada. Sentinel also will assist policymakers at both the DOD and the FTC by providing the capability to collect and analyze specific service-related information.

"The Military Sentinel system is an invaluable extension of the Commission's consumer protection umbrella," said FTC Chairman Timothy J. Muris. "It takes steps to educate and protect our service members and provides law enforcement with the necessary tools to conduct joint sweeps and investigations against those who target our military personnel and their families."

"Military Sentinel shows how much interagency partnerships can enhance the quality of life for our military personnel, DOD civilians, and their families," said Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Management Charles S. Abell. "It gives us the means to gauge consumer protection issues facing the military community."

Military Sentinel has three essential features. First, it offers members of the military and their families a way to file complaints. Second, it gives the DOD and law enforcement officers secure access to the complaints that service members enter, enabling them to spot the most prevalent and troublesome problems, branch by branch, installation by installation. In that way, frauds can be identified, shut down, and ultimately prevented. Finally, Military Sentinel provides members of the armed services with immediate access to the FTC's full range of education and information, including practical, plain language tips on understanding credit and lending issues, avoiding work-at-home and advance-fee-loan schemes, and recognizing fraudulent offers, whether they come through the mail, via the telephone, or the Internet.

Military Sentinel is an extension of the FTC's current online complaint system, Consumer Sentinel (http://www.consumer.gov/sentinel). Receiving complaints about fraud, identity theft, and other deceptive practices from military consumers in the Sentinel database enhances the FTC's ability to protect all consumers.

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.

Contact Information

Media Contact:
Derick Rill
FTC Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2472
Staff Contact:
Ronnie Brooke
FTC Division of Planning and Information
202-326-3484

Kathy French
Bureau of Consumer Protection
202-326-2703