BOISE, Idaho — With Veterans Day just around the corner, many people will look for ways to honor those who served but, unfortunately, that can open the door for scammers.
Better Business Bureau has reported seeing Veterans Day schemes involving people posing as a phony charity, often with a legitimate name. People receive a call from someone soliciting donations. The caller may claim to represent a veteran's organization and request cash, settle for credit card information, or try to get you to buy a prepaid card or send a wire transfer.
If you receive a call, email or find an advertisement soliciting donations, take your time to research. Verify contact information and that the charity is legitimate, keeping in mind bad guys will make their phony charities sound similar to real ones. In some cases, they may just impersonate the real deal so it's worth verifying with the real charity before donating.
If you do find a charity you'd like to help, there are signs to look for to make sure it's legitimate. Many people set up charities with good intentions but don't always have the ability to execute the plan they set out to achieve. Some have trouble properly dispersing the funds they raised. BBB's give.org is a way for donors to find whether a charity has complied with the 20 standards designed to show that the organization is transparent about its operations and fundraising and that it follows good governance practices.
Some things to watch for before donating: be wary of charities that sound similar to more well-known charities. Some scammers will use the same words as actual charities in different order or form to appear legitimate. Look for a clear description of the organization's programs in its appeals and on its website. If it says it's helping veterans, does it explain how (financial assistance, shelter, counseling) and where is it doing so?
Be wary of excessive pressure in fundraising. Don't be pressured to make an immediate on-the-spot donation, in person or by phone. Charities should welcome your gift whenever you want to send it.