Charity scams for veterans tug at heartstrings and grab for wallets, FTC warns

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Around Veterans Day, charity scammers seek to take advantage of the generosity of those who want to help charities that support servicemembers and veterans, the Federal Trade Commission warned.

Charity scammers contact you about fake veteran and military causes, tugging at your heartstrings — and grabbing for your wallet. They lie about who they’re affiliated with and how your money will impact the program you want to help.

A little research will help you spot these charity scams and make sure your donations count:

  • Check the name of the charity and its ratings. Search the charity’s name online with words like “complaint” and “fraud” and “scam.” Check the charity’s reports and ratings to see how they spend donations. If you see bad reviews that concern you, find another organization.
  • Find out who’s behind a crowdfunding request or social media donation link — before giving. Scammers use stolen photos and other people’s stories to raise money for themselves. Find out who’s organizing the campaign since that’s who gets the money donated. They’re expected to give it to the intended recipient. The safest way to give through crowdfunding or social media is to only donate to people you know and trust.
  • Pay with safer payment methods. Scammers ask you to donate in ways that make it hard to get your money back — by gift card or wire transfer, or by cryptocurrency. The safest way to donate is by credit card, which gives you some protection if something goes wrong.

Learn more at ftc.gov/charity. Report scams to FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov and your state charity regulator.