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Sean D. Reyes
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Stop Veteran Charity Scams

In an effort to reduce the number of donations given to fraudulent charities, Francine Giani, Executive Director of the Utah Department of Commerce, announced last week that the state of Utah would participate in a new national donor education campaign, “Operation Donate with Honor.”

Every year, Americans give back to those who gave and risked so much for our freedom. Most charities dedicated to serving veterans and servicemen live up to their promises, but there are some who do not deliver on what they say they provide. Before giving, take a moment to walk through the following steps provided by the Utah Division of Consumer Protection to protect your donation: 

  1. Don’t rely on a sympathetic sounding name to make a donation.
  2. Ask for the charity’s name, website, and physical location.
  3. Ask how much of a donation will go to the charitable program you want to support.
  4. Check with the Utah Division of Consumer Protection to see if they are registered at https://dcp.utah.gov/consumerinfo/veterans_charities.html
  5. Search the charity’s name online with the word “scam” or “complaint” to see what other people say about it.
  6. Check out the charity’s ratings at the Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Watch, or Charity Navigator.
  7. Never pay with cash, a gift card, or by wiring money.
  8. Consider paying by credit card, which is the safest option for security and tax purposes.
  9.  If you wish to file a complaint, go to this link with the Utah Division of Consumer Protection: https://dcp.utah.gov/complaints/manual.html

The education campaign is intended to help potential donors recognize fraudulent and deceptive solicitations to ensure their contributions will, in fact, benefit veterans and service members. The campaign was developed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the National Association of State Charity Officials, which is the association of state offices charged with oversight of charitable organizations and solicitations in the United States. 

Along with the Utah Department of Commerce, the campaign includes the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs, the FTC, law enforcement officials and charity regulators from every state, as well as the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, and Puerto Rico.   

You can find the press statement released by the Department of Commerce as well as additional information and resources here: https://commerce.utah.gov/releases/2018-07-19_dcp-donate-w-honor.pdf.

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