WANT to help charities that support servicemembers and veterans? Around Veterans Day, charity scammers seek to take advantage of your generosity. They contact you about fake veteran and military causes, tugging at your heart strings — and grabbing for your wallet. A little research will help you spot these charity scams and make sure your donations count.
Charity scammers lie about who they’re affiliated with and how your money will impact the program you want to help. Do some research to find veteran charities who use your donations wisely and avoid scams:
- Check the name of the charity and its ratings. Search the charity’s name online with words like “complaint” and “fraud” and “scam.” Check the charity’s reports and ratings to see how they spend donations. If you see bad reviews that concern you, find another organization.
- Find out who’s behind a crowdfunding request or social media donation link — before giving. Scammers use stolen photos and other people’s stories to raise money for themselves. Find out who’s organizing the campaign since that’s who gets the money donated. They’re expected to give it to the intended recipient. The safest way to give through crowdfunding or social media is to only donate to people you know and trust.
- Pay with safer payment methods. Scammers ask you to donate in ways that make it hard to get your money back — by gift card or wire transfer, or by cryptocurrency. The safest way to donate is by credit card, which gives you some protection if something goes wrong.
Learn more at ftc.gov/charity. Report scams to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at ReportFraud.ftc.gov and your state charity regulator. (Terri Miller/Consumer Education Specialist, FTC)