BBB warns of scam this Veterans Day - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

BBB warns of scam this Veterans Day

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MADISON (WKOW) -- With Veterans Days this Saturday, donors are likely to hear stories of disabled veterans needing assistance or similar pitches for Americans to make donations to charities that promise to help needy veterans.

The Better Business Bureau Serving Wisconsin is reminding donors to look beyond stories that appeal to emotions before making a donation.

In recent years, BBBs have issued several warnings about charities that failed to live up to their promises of providing assistance to veterans in need. Some charities devoted more money to raising funds than to helping veterans, and others weren’t willing to reveal how their funds were spent or the amount of assistance they offered.

BBB charity reviews lets donors know whether a charity has complied with BBB’s 20 Standards for Charity Accountability. Charities that meet all 20 standards may qualify as BBB Accredited Charities. BBB has more than 11,000 Charity Reviews, covering local and national nonprofit organizations.

“Whenever possible, donate directly to a charity and not through a fundraising telemarketer because those people take a lot of money and a big percentage of your donation goes to the telemarketing firm,” said Jim Temmer, BBB President and CEO. “A smaller percentage goes to those who you want to help”

BBB offers the following tips to potential donors:

  • Learn all you can about a charity before contributing. Ask for the organization's IRS Form 990 and any printed documentation that shows how much of the contributions will be used for program services and how much will go for fundraising and management expenses.
  • Whenever possible, donate directly to a charity and not through a fundraising telemarketer or a direct mail solicitation. That helps ensure that most of your contribution goes directly to the charity.
  • Don't succumb to pressure to give money on the spot. A charity that can use your money today will welcome it just as much tomorrow. Watch out for appeals that bring tears to your eyes, but tell you nothing about how your donation will be used.
  • Before making online donations, determine whether the charity’s website is secure and that it has a privacy policy concerning the use of your name, email address or other personal facts.
  • When considering support for a cause-related marketing campaign, find the answers to these questions: What portion of the purchase price will benefit the charity? What is the duration of the campaign? What is the maximum or minimum total contribution? If the information is not on the item, check the organization’s website.
  • Check with the BBB at Give.org. For a charity to receive BBB accreditation, it must meet 20 Standards of Accountability covering everything from governance to fundraising.

To report a suspected charity scam or learn more about the latest scams trending in your area, visit BBB Scam Tracker.

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