Veterans’ Day, formerly declared as Armistice Day in 1919 by President Woodrow Wilson is an opportunity to show your support for those who have served or are currently serving our country through voluntary service projects, raising an American flag or making a charitable donation. However, the holiday provides the chance for scammers to target military personnel, especially elderly vets. To think thieves would have the nerve taking advantage of a solemn occasion is quite disturbing, yet, it happens and service as a reminder to veterans and their families to be aware of targeted scams and take time to thoroughly research a charity before offering any monetary support.
Many charities that focus on helping veterans sound similar and frequently use the same few words to make up their names; scammers often use the same words and phrases as more well-known nonprofits to appear legitimate and take advantage of donors.
Veterans who wish to support a military-focused charity should look for a clear description of the organization’s programs. If the charity says it primarily focuses on assisting veterans, examine where the donation money is being spent. Specifically, determine whether or not the charity provides housing, counseling, and financial assistance, and verify if the nonprofit focuses on helping people locally or if it’s a national organization.
Veterans also shouldn’t be swayed by high-pressure telemarketing techniques. If you’re called, don’t hesitate to ask for written information on the charity and its finances before making a decision. Don’t feel like you have to make an immediate, on-the-spot donation; a legitimate charity will welcome your support whenever you decide to contribute to their cause.
BBB encourages everyone – especially our service members and veterans – to keep personal information private and to ask questions anytime someone pushes you to transfer them money. Research charities using bbb.org when you’re considering a contribution and visit Wise Giving Alliance for additional tips on how to truly support veteran nonprofits.
Sandra Guile is the Community Outreach Specialist for BBB. She promotes BBB’s message of marketplace ethics through public speaking engagements, presentations, media relations, press releases, web content, and other written materials. Tune in Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m. with Scott Sloan on 700WLW for The Scam of the Week and every third Thursday with Brian Thomas on 55KRC. In the Greater Portsmouth Area, tune in Tuesdays at 8:05 a.m. on WIOI AM for BBB Chat with Chip Maillet and every third Monday on WNXT AM for Community Corner. Contact Sandra at (513) 639-9126 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Your BBB is located at 1 East 4th Street Suite 600 Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 - to reach the office, call (513) 421-3015.