Secretary of State Kim Wyman joins FTC to combat service-member and veterans charity scams

The new campaign is being released in conjunction with recent law enforcement actions by the FTC.

  • Tuesday, July 24, 2018 8:30am
  • News

Secretary of State Kim Wyman has partnered with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), law enforcement officials, and charity regulators from every state, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, and Puerto Rico in announcing “Operation Donate with Honor,” a sweeping new donor education campaign to help citizens spot and avoid fundraising solicitations that falsely claim 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 important and vital work on behalf of veterans and service members.

“Washingtonians deserve to know that their good-faith donations to charitable causes are going to benefit the people those charities claim to be helping,” Wyman said in a press release. “In almost every instance, that’s what happens. But vigilance is important, because there are some out there who will try to take advantage of the patriotic gratitude that those who’ve served our country deserve.”

The new campaign is being released in conjunction with announcements of new and recent law enforcement actions by the FTC and many states.

Operation Donate with Honor was developed by the FTC and the National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO), the association of state offices charged with oversight of charitable organizations and charitable solicitations in the United States. The initiative pairs enforcement actions with an education campaign, in English and Spanish, to help consumers recognize charitable solicitation fraud and identify legitimate charities. This includes new videos that highlight tips on how to research charities and give wisely to veterans organizations: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9oXZcOwq8vmNuhrxTK-LCf_hXqiaxqM9

Veterans fundraising fraud targets potential donors online, via telemarketing, direct mail, door-to-door contacts, and at retail stores. These schemes falsely promise 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.

The national education campaign being announced today is intended to help potential donors, regardless of where or how they choose to donate, learn how to spot fraudulent and deceptive solicitations and make sure their contributions actually benefit veterans and service members.

“Thousands of charities in Washington and across America do honorable work helping veterans and military members every day,” Wyman said in a press release. “It’s crucial that we recognize and support their efforts. Don’t rely on a sympathetic-sounding name to make a donation.”

When donating to charity, among other things, Wyman advises these additional precautions:

· 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 the charity’s Washington registration with the Secretary of State’s Corporations and Charities Division;

· Search the charity’s name online with the word “scam” or “complaint” to see what other people say about it;

· Check out the charity’s ratings at the Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Watch, or Charity Navigator;

· Never pay with cash, a gift card, or by wiring money; and

· Consider paying by credit card, which is the safest option for security and tax purposes.

Before giving to a charity, Wyman recommends becoming educated about wise giving by visiting the Corporations and Charities website, https://www.sos.wa.gov/charities/operation-donate-with-honor.aspx. Donors and business owners can also find information to help them donate wisely and make their donations count at FTC.gov/Charity.

Consumers with questions or complaints may file a report with the state Attorney General’s Office, or contact the FTC’s Consumer Response Center at 877-382-4357.

More in News

Gov. Jay Inslee speaks to protesting nurses on April 24 at the State Capitol Building in Olympia. Inslee indicated he would sign the bill for meal and rest breaks into law if it passes both chambers. Photo by Emma Epperly, WNPA Olympia News Bureau
Lawmakers approve ‘nursing bill’ for mandatory meal and rest breaks

Nurses show up in Olympia to support bill, protest Sen. Walsh’s remarks.

Scott Barden stands next to the pit that will house the newest, and possibly final, section of the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill near Maple Valley. The pit is 120 feet deep, and around another 180 feet will be built on top of it over the next decade. Aaron Kunkler/staff photo
King County’s landfill is going to get bigger

A ninth cell will be built, extending its life by another decade.

An aircraft is pictured at King County International Airport, also known as Boeing Field. Photo courtesy of kingcounty.gov
King County wants to end deportation flights for ICE

Legal challenge expected from federal government.

Kailan Manandic / staff photo 
                                The Mercerdale Park remains free of development as the city and MICA focuses on a new location at the former Tully’s Coffee site.
City council to terminate plans for Mercerdale development

The city directed staff to seek mutual termination of a 2016 MOU to develop within Mercerdale Park.

In the wake of Proposition 1’s failure and the Mercer Island City Council cutting an elementary counselor position, the MIYFS and MISF offer to fund the position through the next school year. Kailan Manandic / staff photo
Island foundations to fund school counselor position

MIYFS Foundation and the Mercer Island Schools Foundation will fund a counselor until 2020.

Lakeridge Elementary School K-Kids club officers support schools devastated by wildfires in Paradise, CA. From left: Fritz Hokanson, Oscar Hokanson, Oren Goldberg, Sydney Hawthorne and Emerson Woods. Madison Miller / staff photo
K-Kids club support California schools devastated by wildfires

Lakeridge Elementary K-Kids club hold “Lions’ Pride for Paradise Week” relief effort for Paradise schools.

Kailan Manandic / staff photo 
                                The city council took a preliminary step toward developing a fiscal sustainability plan at the April 16 meeting.
City council reviewed fiscal sustainability plan options

Currently, city staff are examining the options to determine what is feasible for the city.

April 2019 special election preliminary results

LWSD levy passing; Fall City fire merger and hospital bond coming up short.

Foundations covering counselor costs

Announcement comes in wake of Prop. 1 loss last November.

Most Read