CHARLESTON – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced the participation of his office in Operation Donate with Honor, a nationwide effort to help consumers avoid falsely claimed fundraising solicitations that are alleged to help veterans or other service members.
Morrisey coordinated with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to warn consumers of charity fraudsters that are targeting consumers by using sympathetic-sounding names, as well as other schemes.
"All too often hardworking Americans who want to give back to veterans and active members of the military are taken advantage of," Morrisey said in an interview with The West Virginia Record.
Morrisey said in a press release that fraudulently representing a military charity is "despicable" and will not be tolerated.
"While the names of these so-called charities may sound convincing, the individuals behind the scam will pocket donations," Morrisey said. "Operation Donate with Honor is a nationwide movement focused on educating the general public about the dangers associated with blindly donating to charity."
Morrisey said education is key to preventing scammers from pocketing consumers' hard-earned money.
The scammers are attempting to lure consumers to donate via the internet, telemarketing, direct mail, door-to-door contacts and retail stores, according to the attorney general's office.
"West Virginia is home to some of the most-caring, generous Americans out there. Our office wants to help ensure that the monies they kindly donate always make it into the right hands," Morrisey said. "We must help consumers easily identify fraudulent charities and preserve the role of honest charities that are committed to helping our nation's service members."
When considering donating to a charity, Morrisey said to ask for the charity's name, website and physical location; never rely on a sympathetic-sounding name; ask how much an individual donation directly supports the charity; ensure that the charity is registered to solicit donations on the West Virginia Secretary of State's website; search for the charity's name with the word "scam" or "complaint" to see what others are saying; check out the charity's ratings at the Charity Navigator website; never pay with cash, a gift card or by wiring money; and to consider paying by credit card because it is the safest option for security and tax purposes.