Wise Giving Wednesday: Donate With Honor - Federal Trade Commission Calls Out Charity Fraud
In our continuing Wise Giving Wednesday series about the “Donate With Honor” press conference held at the Washington DC office of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) along with state Attorneys General and state charity regulators, we take another look at the announced crackdown on questionable appeals claiming to help veterans or active duty service members.
The list of 100 enforcement actions that was distributed with the FTC press conference announcement includes a variety of cases involving the FTC and various state attorney general offices. Among other things, the action descriptions identify veterans organization deficiencies, including, among other things:
- Appeals that misled the public about providing assistance to veterans or service members
- Robocalls misrepresenting that the message is an appeal from a charity
- Cause-related marketing promotions that sold items with the false promise of providing assistance to service members
- For-profit corporation holding itself out as a charity
- Misleading sweepstakes claims
- Failure to register as a charity with the state government despite repeated requests by the state
- Filing misleading reports to state government agencies
While allegations similar to these have taken place before, the scope of this press conference serves as a warning to others who consider soliciting for this popular cause: the authorities are watching and will take measures to help protect the public from misleading appeals and other misconduct by solicitors raising funds for veterans or service members.
There are steps you can take to help avoid misleading appeals and identify trustworthy veterans organizations that meet the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability. See this link to a previous blog for a list of 26 veterans and military service charities that meet these standards.
Video of the Week
To give further insight into these veterans organization issues, this week’s video features an interview with Lois Greisman, Associate Director for the Division of Marketing Practices, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission. She discusses how her office seeks to protect donors from deceptive appeals.
We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit Give.org or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:
Finally, remember to let us know by going to give.org/charity-inquiry if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.
H. Art Taylor, President & CEO
BBB Wise Giving Alliance