Be watchful of scammers collecting money during Memorial Day weekend

Be watchful of scammers collecting money during Memorial Day weekend

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - This weekend, the country will pay tribute and honor to those who gave their lives while serving in the military.

Many people will pay their respects by giving their money to a veteran or military-affiliated organizations.

But do you know where your money is going?

Donation requests by veteran groups are high around the Memorial Day holiday, according to the Better Business Bureau.

Memorial Day weekend is a time to remember servicemen and women who lost their lives while serving in the military.
"Sadly there are those out there that's going to use the Memorial Day holiday as a way to steal money from those of us who would like to donate to charitable causes that's going to help veterans and military service members," said Leonard Crain- President and CEO Better Business Bureau of West Georgia, East Alabama and Southwest Georgia.

The Better Business Bureau says not all charities are legit. Your money may not be helping a Memorial Day cause and going into someone else's pocket instead.

"We always say investigate before you donate be sure you know who you are giving your money to because you don't want your donated dollars to go to the end user. There's going to be some imposters out, there's going to be websites. They even may knock on your door asking for donations," said Crain.

Some tips to remember include for the BBB include:

Mistaken Identity: Watch out for name confusion. Many veterans charities include virtually the same words in different order or slightly different form.

Clear Program Description: Look for a clear description of the organization's programs in its appeals and on its website. If it says it is helping veterans, does it explain how (financial assistance, shelter, counseling) and where it is doing so?

Telemarketing Cautions: Telemarketing can be a costly method of fundraising unless carefully managed. If called, do not hesitate to ask for written information on the charity's programs and finances.

On-the-Spot Donation Decisions: Be wary of excessive pressure in fundraising. Don't be pressured to make an immediate on-the-spot donation. Charities should welcome your gift whenever you want to send it.

Donating Used Clothing and Other Goods:  Find out how the charity benefits from the collection and resale of used clothing and other in-kind gifts. Sometimes the charity receives only a small portion of the resale price of the item or may have a contractual
arrangement to get a flat fee for every household pick-up, no matter what the contents.

Check with Outside Sources Before Giving: Visit to check out a charity's trustworthiness by verifying if it meets the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.  Also check with your state government's charity registration agency, usually a division of the attorney general's office.

Click here to find more information from the BBB in Columbus.

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