Charity Scams

by Freddy Groves


Ten million dollars could have gone a long way toward helping veterans.

That’s how much a veterans service group took in over several years. To

stay just this side of legal, it did give the required 25 percent to its

veterans career centers, locations set up to assist veterans with job

hunts and training. But that’s where the “legal” stopped — the centers

kicked back 85 percent of that money. The career centers were fairly

useless, many with computers that didn’t even work or even no staff.

Then, in another state, heads really rolled when a significant veterans

charity, specializing in gambling, was caught giving a miniscule 2 percent

of the $300 million it had garnered in recent years. People love to

gamble, and did, believing that the money they lost went to veterans.

Instead, the money went to fancy cars and real estate for the ones who ran

the scam.


Unfortunately these types of headlines will make people leery of giving to

veterans causes, and they’ll keep their wallets closed.


There are ways, however, to make sure that your charity dollars are used

the way you want them to be. It takes a little work, but it’s worth it.

Don’t donate any money in response to a phone call or someone who shows up

at your door. If the cause sounds good, check it out. Use the databases

below to hunt for the good ones.


Charity Navigator ( has 61 veterans charity

organizations on its list, all ranked by stars.


Charity Watch (, aka the American Institute of

Philanthropy, has a veterans section on its website. Charity Watch has

been called the “pit bull of watch dogs” because of the way they get to

the truth about charities.


GuideStar ( has 45,000 results related to veterans.

Narrow your search with the drop-down menus.


Freddy Groves regrets that he cannot personally answer reader questions,

but will incorporate them into his column whenever possible. Send email to


(c) 2013 King Features Synd., Inc.

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