A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

BBB Trends: Veteran holiday too often a tie for ‘soundalike’ solicitations; beware of scams

By Sandra Guile
Better Business Bureau

Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Veteran’s Day are all great holidays to honor the men and women who have served or are currently serving our country.

It’s also a great opportunity for scam artists to look like, sound like, and act as a charity when they aren’t.

There are numerous nonprofits honorably providing the services veterans need and several more that support active military personnel and their families around the world. The need for providing counseling, housing, and other related benefits are real for servicemen and servicewomen as well as their families.

Click to go to website.

Unfortunately, there are many unscrupulous individuals out there running schemes and undoing those good intentions through the internet, postal service, phone, and in person.

The scam artist will set up a similar sounding charity using the words “veteran” or “military” in the name of the false charity and may try to refer to a government agency to make it sound legitimate. Keep in mind that the U.S. Department of Defense doesn’t endorse any charity, but it does refer military personnel and their families to resources for loans, housing, and other services. The scam artist may also claim they’re a veteran too so they can appeal to families of veterans or retirees.

Fraudsters will use holidays that honor the military to boost their efforts to successfully conceal what they’re really doing . . . falsely representing themselves to collect donations for personal gain. They’ll call businesses or consumers to thank them for a pledge that wasn’t made and insist that the funds will be put to good use.

The trouble is, in most cases, additional pressure is applied to go ahead and make good on the pledge even though one wasn’t made in the first place.

These practices raise an element of doubt for a person or a business when they are approached to make a charitable contribution. The best course of action when pressured to make a donation from an unknown source is to simply refuse. Check your records if there is the slightest hint of doubt the person you’re speaking with is representing a legitimate charity or if you don’t remember making a donation.

Refer to bbb.org or give.org to be certain that the person you spoke with truly represents a charitable organization.

If you suspect an organization is making misleading solicitations or is not operating for charitable purposes, report them to the Attorney General and to scamtracker.org.

Sandra Guile is the Public Relations 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. Your BBB is located at 1 East 4th Street Suite 600 Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 – to reach the office, call (513) 421-3015.

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