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Veterans Day scams – beware of solicitors and check their bona fides

Post by C.R. Roberts / The News Tribune on Nov. 9, 2012 at 11:04 am |
November 9, 2012 11:04 am

It’s Veteran’s Day weekend, and the Better Business Bureau advises that you watch out for hucksters trying to take advantage.

“Not all donation requests come from non-profits,” the agency said this week in a release.

Consider Freedom United Sales LLC and Smartraiser LLC. The two enterprises are “ traveling the country requesting donations to send military care packages to U.S. soldiers serving overseas; in some cases, agents are selling magazine subscriptions in exchange for contributions. Yet, some consumers say representatives are falsely implying non-profit status while soliciting on doorsteps or at public venues.”

Washington require charitable organizations to register before seeking donations. If approached for donations, BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington encourages people to ask questions:

• Who? Collect credentials, identification, and in most areas, solicitation permits. Write down organizations’ names, addresses and websites. Legitimate charities should be listed with irs.gov or in this state at www.sos.wa.gov/charities/. Also, do research on guidestar.org, charitynavigator.org and bbb.org/us/charity-reviews.

• What? Find out what percentage of the funds go toward charitable efforts. Most organizations spend a portion on fundraising or solicitations so be skeptical of claims that all money goes to the cause. BBB Standards for Charity Accountability suggest that entities should allocate at least 65 percent toward program activities and spend no more than 35 percent on fundraising.

• When? Where? Why? Plan donations ahead of time; utilize BBB’s Charity Review Program to find local organizations and access giving tips. Before donating, contact local American Legion offices for recommendations and use BBB Military Line for resources.

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