Report Veterans Charities Engaged in Deceptive Practices
Charities using deceptive tactics to solicit donations, such as claiming you donated last year, or that you promised a donation, when you know you didn't, should be put out of business. If you're considering donating to charity, you don't want to donate charity to groups using deceptive business practices.
These tactics are generally used by for-profit fundraisers and their telemarketers, and they give the charities they solicit for a bad name. Unfortunately, far too many veterans charities use for-profit fundraisers, whose fees often leave little of the money donated to be used for the charity's purposes.
But what can you do when it happens to you?
There are several places where you can file complaints
about such deceptive practices:
- Better Business Bureau. The Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance keeps reviews on a number of charities, and filing a copy of your complaint there will cause it to be added to their list of complaints.
- The Consumer Protection Division of your State's Attorney General's Office, and whichever office regulates charities in your state. It's usually the Secretary of State, but some states have different offices. Find the state agency that regulates charities for your state.
- Federal Trade Commission, especially if you believe the caller making the solicitation is most likely from a for-profit fundraising group.
- The IRS, requesting review of the charity's tax-exempt status and reporting deceptive trade practices and possible solicitaion fraud).
- The Office of the Postal Inspector, reporting fraudulent mailing activity if you receive a mail solicitation or a mailed invoice in follow-up to a phone call - check the box that says "charity fraud".
- Rep. Henry Waxman of California is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which investigated veterans charities in 2007-2008. I would recommend sending copies of your complaints to his office as well, prominently marked "Veterans Charity Fraud."
Responding to all those investigations and inquiries should keep the bad guys busy for a while! In the meantime, find a highly rated veterans charity to send that money to, so it will actually go to help our veterans.
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