Attorney general warns of scammers claiming to represent vets' groupsUnion Leader staff
July 19. 2018 7:47PM
CONCORD — The state’s attorney general has issued guidance on how to avoid being fleeced by scammers claiming to represent veterans groups, as New Hampshire joins the Federal Trade Commission and charity regulators from all 50 states in a new donor education campaign called “Operation Donate with Honor.”
The campaign comes as law enforcement agencies across the country disclose more than 100 enforcement actions against charities, fundraisers and individuals who falsely promise donations will help veterans and service members.
“New Hampshire citizens generously contribute to charities promising to deliver needed help to veterans and service members. The great majority of these charities live up to those promises,” said Attorney General Gordon MacDonald.
“But bad actors attract donations by lying about support not actually delivered. This kind of conduct harms not only well-meaning donors, but also the many legitimate charities engaged in vital work on behalf of veterans and service members.”
In 2016, the state placed Hanover’s Project VetCare into receivership after reports that the executive director was using donations made for veterans to pay for her home repairs and for a Caribbean cruise trip.
Much of that money has been recovered and distributed to well-respected local veterans’ charities, according to MacDonald, who announced that next month the former executive director will enter a plea in Grafton Superior Court on felony charges of theft.
The N.H. Department of Justice joined 23 other states in 2017 to shut down VietNow, a national organization that made deceptive telemarketing calls nationwide to solicit contributions from the public. VietNow is being dissolved and its assets distributed to legitimate veterans charities.
MacDonald encouraged potential donors to learn how to spot fraudulent and deceptive charities by following some basic advice:
• Don’t rely on a sympathetic sounding charity name to make a donation;
• Ask for the charity’s name, website and physical location;
• Ask how much of any donation will go to the charitable program you want to support;
• Check whether the charity is registered in New Hampshire at www.doj.nh.gov/charitable-trusts;
• Search the charity’s name on the web with the word “scam” or “complaint.” See what other people say about it;
• Check out the charity’s ratings at the Wise Giving Alliance or Charity Navigator;
• Never pay with cash, a gift card or money wire;
• Consider paying by credit card on a secure website, which is the safest option for security and tax purposes;
• Before giving to a charity, read materials about giving on the Charitable Trusts Unit’s web pages www.doj.nh.gov/charitable-trusts.