As part of July being Military Consumer Protection Month, Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin joins the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in announcing "Operation Donate With Honor," a new education campaign to help donors spot fraudulent charities that claim to help veterans and active duty service members.
Every year, grateful Americans repay the sacrifices made by those who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces with contributions to charities that promise to deliver needed help and services to veterans and service members. Most of these charities live up to fundraising promises, but a few attract donations by lying about help and support not actually delivered. In the process, they harm not only well-meaning donors, but also the many legitimate charities engaged in important and vital work on behalf of veterans and service members.
"As a nation, most of us are united in our feelings of gratitude toward those who serve or have served in the U.S. Armed Forces that help protect our freedoms and keep us safe," said Attorney General Kilmartin. "As such, many people are inspired to donate to charitable organizations that assist veterans and active service members, and there are many wonderful organizations out there to choose from. Unfortunately, some of these organizations are fraudulent and little or no money makes it to the intended recipients. We want to make sure that your financial gift is used for the purpose you intended – as a "thank you" to our military."
Operation Donate With Honor is an educational campaign to help consumers recognize charitable solicitation fraud and identify legitimate charities. These fundraising fraud schemes often target potential donors online, or through telemarketing, direct mail, door-to-door contacts, and at retail stores, falsely promising to help homeless and disabled veterans with employment counseling, mental health counseling or other assistance, and to send care packages to deployed military service members. When donating to a military or veterans' charity, Attorney General Kilmartin offers the following tips:
• Ask how much of any donation will go to the charitable program you want to support.
• Search the charity's name online with the word "scam" or "complaint." See what other people say about it.
• Check out the charity's ratings at the Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Watch, or Charity Navigator.
• Never pay with cash, a gift card, or by wiring money.
• Consider paying by credit card, which is the safest option for security and tax purposes.
To learn more, watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBglyY8CGv4 or visit our website at http://www.riag.ri.gov/.