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These Veterans Day scams prove criminals have no shame

It’s not always easy to tell when you’re on the phone with a scammer. The usual warning signs you get from emails, such as spelling errors, are not there. But we’re here to help. Tap or click here for five surefire phrases that you’re talking to a scammer on the phone.

Scams come in all shapes and forms, but it takes the lowest of criminals to target military veterans who have put their lives on the line for our country.

But not all of these criminal enterprises directly target veterans. Some try to appeal to your generosity in helping them, stealing your money in the process. Read on for one of the most common scams that use Veterans Day as a lure and what you can do about it.  

Here’s the backstory

One of the greatest pleasures in life is helping others. Scammers know this and will use your goodwill against you.

This Veterans Day, crooks are looking for innocent victims who only want to make a meaningful contribution. These veteran scams are simple yet effective and can be challenging to spot.

Essentially, a scammer will claim to represent a charitable organization or create a fake charity that supposedly supports veterans. But any money collected will never make it to a legitimate destination — it goes straight to the scammer. 

Charity scammers lie about who they’re affiliated with and how your contribution will help. Watch out for vague sentimental claims. For example, the caller says that the charity helps wounded veterans who can’t work, but they won’t get into specifics about how your donation will be used.

Here are some things to tell you if a call is coming from a legitimate charity:

  • They can only call during specific times. You won’t hear from them before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
  • They have to disclose their name and purpose. They have to tell you the name of the charity and tell you that they’re calling is to seek a donation.
  • They can’t use a robocall or prerecorded message to reach you unless you are a member of the charity or a prior donor ― and even then they must offer you a way to opt-out of future calls.
  • The caller ID on your phone has to show the name of the charity or fundraiser, along with a number that you can call to ask to be placed on the charity’s do not call list.

RELATED: Phone scam warning: Hang up if you get one of these calls

What you can do about it

There are a few things that you can do to keep your money safe or to ensure that you donate to a legitimate cause. 

  • Safeguard your information: Never give out personal data if you don’t know the sender of a text or email or caller and can’t verify their identity.
  • Do your research: Before donating any money, do a quick search for the charity online and look at some ratings or reviews.
  • Use these resources: Charity Navigator and CharityWatch offer reports and ratings about how charitable organizations spend donations.
  • Crowdfunding campaigns aren’t always honest: When coming across a crowdfunding effort for veterans, try to find out who is behind the charity drive and do as much research on the person or cause as possible.
  • Watch how you donate: Never donate to any charity that insists on gift cards, wire transfers or cryptocurrency. If they are legitimate, any form of payment should be sufficient.
  • Don’t give in to pressure: If the caller pushes you to act quickly, hang up. Speak to a relative or friend about the situation to get perspective.
  • Tell someone: If you think you’ve been scammed over the phone, file a police report and report the scam to the FTC.

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