Morrisey, national coalition fight military charity fraud

CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced his office’s participation in “Operation Donate with Honor,” a sweeping nationwide effort to help consumers avoid fundraising solicitations that falsely claim to help veterans and service members.

The Attorney General, in coordination with the Federal Trade Commission, warns that charity fraudsters target potential donors by using sympathetic sounding names and many other schemes to attract donations for help and support that is never delivered.

“Fraudulently representing a military charity is despicable and cannot be tolerated,” Morrisey said. “Education is key in preventing an individual’s hard-earned money from ending up in the hands of a scammer. We must help consumers easily identify fraudulent charities and preserve the role of honest charities that are committed to helping our nation’s service members.”

Those perpetrating military charity fraud will lure donors via the Internet, telemarketing, direct mail, door-to-door contacts and at retail stores. They may promise to help homeless and disabled veterans, to provide veterans with employment counseling, mental health counseling or other assistance, and to send care packages to deployed service members.

The Attorney General appreciates the countless West Virginians who contribute to military-friendly charities; however, he urges them to follow these tips to ensure their generosity honors the sacrifice of those who served.

• Ask for the charity’s name, website, and physical location.

• Never rely on a sympathetic sounding name to make a donation.

• Ask how much of an individual donation directly supports the charitable program.

• Ensure the charity is registered to solicit donations by reviewing the West Virginia Secretary of State’s website.

• 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 Charity Navigator website.

• 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.

“Operation Donate with Honor” carries broad, bipartisan participation from law enforcement officials and charity regulators from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam and Puerto Rico.

The initiative was developed by the FTC and the National Association of State Charity Officials.

For more tips on safeguarding donations please visit www.ftc.gov/charity.

Anyone with questions or concerns about military charity fraud should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808, the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg at 304-267-0239 or visit the office online at www.wvago.gov.


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