Do You Want to Help Veterans or Support Thieves?

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With Veterans Day approaching, it makes sense that charities dedicated to helping veterans and their families are ramping up their efforts. That's not lost on crooks, who also will ramp up their efforts.

So, if you want to support those who have risked their lives for this country rather than enrich a bunch of crooks who are likely halfway around the world, heed the warning issued on Friday by the Better Business Bureau.

Watch out for pitches from supposed charities that want you to think they care about U.S. military veterans. The solicitations can come by mail, email, social media, or door-to-door, the BBB said.

Groups that say they're helping veterans and those they are helping them are two different things. So, the key is being able to recognize the scams as well as verify that where you intend to send your money is the real deal.

How to Avoid Being Duped

Here are some tips culled from advice dispensed by the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance that can help you to avoid giving to a fraud and to ensure your money will do some good:
  • What's in a name? It's common for scams to use names that sound like real charities. One-word difference, and it's not the same.
  • What's the plan? Find the description of what the group is doing and how it accomplishes its goals. Seek examples of work the charity does.
  • Hold the phone. If the charity pitch comes by phone, resist. By all means, take their information if you're interested, but if you give yours (and money), expect that the telemarketer will be the one profiting.
  • There's always later. One hallmark of a scam is bolstering the idea that if you don't give now, you can't give at all. Nonsense. No upstanding charity will be any less happy to get your money tomorrow. The high-pressure is an attempt to keep you from doing the homework you need to do to find out that you're dealing with a scam.
  • Find them yourself. The best way to give to a charity is to pick one that you've researched and has a mission and accomplishments that you can get behind. Be sure to check third-party charity reviews sites like,, and to see what they have to say.
You can also find a list of charities that help veterans on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs site.
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