Hamilton Herald Masthead Attorneys Insurance Mutual of the South

Editorial


Front Page - Friday, July 27, 2018

State joins FTC to combat fraudulent veterans’ charities




The Tennessee Secretary of State’s office, along with the Tennessee Attorney General’s office, is joining the Federal Trade Commission and law enforcement officials and charity regulators from every state in announcing Operation Donate with Honor, a sweeping new donor-education campaign to help donors spot and avoid fundraising solicitations that falsely promise their donations will help veterans and service members.

Every year, grateful Americans repay the sacrifices made by those who serve in the U.S. armed forces with contributions to charities that promise to deliver needed help and services to veterans and service members.

Most of these charities live up to fundraising promises, but a few attract donations by lying about help and support not actually delivered. In the process, they harm not only well-meaning donors but also the many legitimate charities engaged in vital work on behalf of veterans and service members.

“Tennesseans are some of the most giving people in the nation. It’s unfortunate bad actors prey on our generosity for personal gain, especially when deceiving people into thinking they are helping the men and women who serve our country,” says Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “I hope Tennesseans will continue to donate their hard-earned dollars to benefit veterans after doing research.”

Operation Donate with Honor was developed by the FTC and the National Association of State Charity Officials, the association of state offices charged with oversight of charitable organizations and charitable solicitations in the United States.

The initiative is intended to help consumers recognize charitable solicitation fraud and identify legitimate charities. A new video offers tips on how to research charitable organizations.

“Protecting Tennesseans from people or organizations that take advantage of the generosity of individuals who want to help those who have served our country with honor is something my office does not take lightly,” Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III, says. “We are proud to join with our state and federal partners to put an end to these deceptive acts.”

Veterans fundraising fraud schemes target potential donors online, via telemarketing, direct mail, door-to-door contact and at retail stores, falsely promising to help homeless and disabled veterans, to provide veterans with employment counseling, mental health counseling or other assistance, and to send care packages to deployed service members. Many schemes solicit nationwide.

Before giving to a charity, check Tennessee’s Easy Steps to Wise Giving. Donors and business owners can also find information to help them donate wisely and make their donations count at www.FTC.gov/Charity.

Anyone with questions about a charity can contact the Division of Charitable Solicitations at Fantasy Sports and Gaming at 800 861-7393 or www.sos.tn.gov/charitable.

Source: The Tennessee Secretary of State’s office