Ahead of anniversary, BBB warns of bogus charity scams targeting veterans

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Roanoke, Virginia (WFXR) – As Memorial Day approaches, the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which has jurisdiction over West Virginia, warns of bogus charities that often deceive people who serve the country or who serve the country . ..

In 2020, active members of the service lost more than $ 190,000 to fraudsters nationwide, according to a report produced by the BBB Scam Tracker. Veterans across the country have been hit even harder, with more than $ 270,000 lost in the fraudulent trade. In addition, 49% of victims of fraud were 55 years of age or older.

Consumers should also be aware of deceptive military charities that use names and outreach practices similar to trusted nonprofits, such as email, direct mail, phone, and text. These military organizations use emotionally appealing terms to fill fundraising movements such as “warriors”, “heroes” and “people with disabilities”.

In 2019 FTC shutdown The American Veterans Foundation has raised nearly $ 6.5 million from donors. The Foundation said it was providing care packages and other assistance to military and homeless veterans through donations. Instead, the Foundation used 92% of the funds raised for telemarketing and administration.

“If you’re donating to a charity that represents military personnel, check out Give.org to make sure the organization meets BBB charitable standards, especially before and after Memorial Day. Dissatisfied lawyers often call to help veterans, military personnel or their families, but most donations are not used for this. “

Julie Wheeler, President and CEO of BBB (serving West Virginia)

The BBB generally warns of the following scams targeting service members:

  • Expensive military loans – Loan advertisements that do not promise any collateral, immediate approval or credit check often involve hidden fees and very high interest rates. Please note that a legitimate lender will never guarantee a loan before your application.
  • Veterans Benefit Buyback Plan – This acquisition plan offers cash payments in exchange for future benefits or pension payments for disabled veterans. The cash amount is only about 30-40% of the amount veterans are eligible to receive. These acquisition plans can be set up in several different ways and should be carefully considered before signing.
  • False rental property – Stolen photos of legitimate rental properties are used in advertisements that promise military discounts and other incentives. Service members are required to pay by bank transfer for security payments or accommodation keys. At the end of the day, the service members get nothing.
  • Deceptive car sales – Websites with classifieds offer bogus discounts to military personnel or claim to be from soldiers who have to sell their vehicles immediately after deployment. Prepaid bank transfer fees are required. Otherwise, you will have problems with your car after purchase.
  • Expensive life insurance – The military are often subjected to aggressive marketing that offers unnecessary and expensive life insurance. Lawyers can make false statements about the benefits of these policies.

To avoid these scams, BBB provides the following tips:

  • Do your research – Get as much information as possible about your business or charity before making a payment or donation. A good place to start for research is to check the company’s BBB business profile to see if the BBB has any report on that charity.
  • Don’t send money to strangers – Wire transfers are virtually impossible to track. Payments and donations should be made by credit card whenever possible. It will be easier to dispute your claim.
  • Protect your computer – Do not click on the link in the junk mail. Do not enter your personal information on unknown websites. Make sure the latest antivirus software is installed and always use a firewall.
  • Place active alerts in credit reports during deployment – This minimizes the risk of identity theft, as creditors and businesses cannot issue or extend credit until they have confirmed their identity.

Before making a charitable donation:

  • Get the correct name of a charity – False identities are a common problem because there are so many charities.
  • Avoid tearing up the call – Making decisions under high pressure is not a wise choice. You can always ask questions about the organization and the advisability of donating.
  • Check the basics on the website – Charitable missions, programs and finances should be easily accessible on their website. Otherwise, see the report at: Give.org..
  • Check if the charity meets the BBB charity criteria – Check out the report on the BBB Wise Giving Alliance website.
  • Check with state officials. In most states, you must register your donation with a charity. Attorney General’s Office Or Secretary of State..

The BBB says military personnel often face unique challenges in returning to civilian life and re-entering the workforce. Organizations are advised to start with the following trusted organizations to avoid fraud:

  • BBB Information for military and veteran consumers – – BBB Information for military and veteran consumers Provides free consumer education and financial literacy resources to military families and veterans.
  • American Veterans (VA) – – VA.govThe official US Department of Veterans Affairs website is a hub for resources on all aspects that may affect the transition to privacy. Information on education benefits, pensions, and life insurance is all available on the official website of the Veterans Association.
  • Veterans Employment Services Office (VESO) – – VESO It provides resources for career opportunities within the Department of Veterans Affairs and supports the transition from work to life.
  • American military aid – Like VA, USA Military Assistance guides you through different areas. If you are working, you can also find military tax advice and free credit monitoring at: usa.gov / Military assistance..
  • Veterans Health Administration – VA extension, Veterans Health Administration A medical system for veterans. The government will also provide resources to veterans during the COVID-19 crisis.

Ahead of anniversary, BBB warns of bogus charity scams targeting veterans

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