Veteran Scams    How They Work

Some charities raise funds to support members of the Armed Forces and their families. But not all of these "charities" are the real deal. BBB Military Line and BBB Wise Giving Alliance remind you to do a little research first to make sure your contributions go to actual causes and not scammers' pocket

How the Scam Works:

         You receive a solicitation from a charity that claims it is collecting donations to help veterans. It may take the form of a postcard in the mail, an email message, a social media post or even a person going door-to-door. 

         But just because the solicitation claims that it is collecting money for veterans' causes, doesn't mean the funds are really going there. Charity fraud varies from outright scams to a misrepresentation of how much of a donation actually goes to help veterans. (such as the elaborate con that landed its perpetrator John Donald Cody, 67,   a 28-year prison sentence last year see

 hthttp://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2013/12/bobby_thompson_sentenced_to_x.html). Be sure that your donation ends up helping veterans by following these tips from BBB Wise Giving Alliance. 

     To Protect Yourself from Veterans Charity Scams check out BBB Wise Giving Alliance's complete list of tips on their website.http://give.org/for-donors/about-specific-giving-guidance/basic-giving-tips. Some of these are:

  • Mistaken Identity: Watch out for name confusion. Many veterans charities include virtually the same words in different order or slightly different form.
  • Program Descriptions: Look for a clear description of the organization's programs in its appeals and website. If it says it is helping veterans, does it explain how (financial assistance, shelter, counseling), and where it is doing so?
  • Telemarketing Cautions: Telemarketing can be a costly method of fund raising unless carefully managed. If called, do not hesitate to ask for written information on the charity's programs and finances.
  • On-the-Spot Donation Decisions: Be wary of excessive pressure in fund raising.  Don't be pressured to make an immediate on-the-spot donation.  Charities should welcome your gift whenever you want to send it.
  • Donating Used Clothing and Other Goods?  Find out how the charity benefits from the collection and resale of used clothing and other in-kind gifts.  Sometimes the charity receives only a small portion of the resale price of the item or may have a contractual arrangement to get a flat fee for every household pick-up, no matter what the contents.
  • Check with Outside Sources before Giving:  Visit Give.org to access reports that summarize rigorous evaluations in relation to 20 holistic BBB Charity Standards that address governance, results reporting, finances and appeal accuracy. Also, you can find a list of Veteran Service Organizations (VSO) at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website and information about Military Service Organizations (MSO) at the U.S. Military Community Information and Outreach website.

      To learn more about scammers posing as veterans charities, check out the alert from the FTC at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0121-charitable-solicitations-vet-military-families. To find out more about other scams, check the BBB Scam Stopper   http://www.bbb.org/council/bbb-scam-stopper.

Source:  BBB Scam Alert, November 07, 2014