By Tech. Sgt. Aaron Oelrich, 15th Wing Public Affairs
In observance of Military Consumer Protection Day, the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) hosted a consumer and financial protection fair July 15 at the Pearl Harbor Navy Exchange.
The fair was geared toward military members and the unique financial challenges they and their families may face.
“The DCCA’s responsibility is to reach out to the public and educate them about the resources that are available and empower them to make better decisions as a consumer as well as help protect people from many types of fraud,” said Jacqueline Choy, the consumer protection education specialist with the State of Hawaii Office of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.
More than two dozen government and nonprofit agencies participated in the event, including representatives from the Department of the Attorney General, Hawaii Home-ownership Center, Internal Revenue Service and the Military Family Support Center.
Ashley Carmichael, a military spouse, found what she was looking for at the fair. “It was interesting to see people who could answer my questions and to get brochures with information on things like credit and debt management, home sales and the Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act,” said Carmichael.
According to Choy, supplying hundreds of informational pamphlets and books with topics ranging from identity theft and debt to phone scams and vehicle lemon laws, the fair provided a venue for consumers to gain awareness on a variety of important topics in one location.
“A lot of the time, people don’t have an awareness of the resources that are there to help them out,” said Capt. Kevin Estes, officer in charge of the legal assistance office for Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe.
“So an event like this gets them talking to their friends, families and coworkers, helping to create greater awareness of the resources that are available.”
Choy said this is the second year DCCA has held this annual event, and they are looking forward to continuing to promote consumer and financial protection to military members and their families for many years to come.