Beware of the Veterans Scam
by Bobby Blair 11/18/12
They're at it again, asking you to donate but very little actually goes to the veteran ...
Last Spring I received a call from the Bay State Vietnam Veterans Inc. asking for a contribution. I declined the invitation telling the caller I had never heard of the organization. In August of this year the Massachusetts Attorney Generals Office filed suit against Bay State Vietnam Veterans Inc. and R.I. based Dynamic Marketing Solutions Inc. alledging fraudulent fundraising. The Attorney General's Office alleged that donors were misled to believe that all their donations were going directly to benefit veterans when in fact 85% were going to the solicitor. The Bay State Veterans site is still viewable on the Internet.
After receiving a tip from local American Legion Commander Alan Greendale on Sunday morning about solicitations for veterans in front of the Superette I ventured downtown.
The gentleman above did not give his name. I grew suspicious when no organization name was displayed on the banner or contribution jug on the man's table. I asked the man if he was in fact a veteran. He told me he was in the Navy fron 1972- 1975. I asked him if he was a volunteer or did he get paid. We get paid an hourly rate he told me. Do you have any information on your organization I asked the man. Polite enough he offered me a half page printed brocheure which stated the organization was "Focus on Veterans" located at 240 Westminster Hill Road in Fitchburg, MA. What are you folks doing way down here I asked. "Oh they send us all over the state" was his reply. A call to the number listed on the handout said that my message would be forwarded to an automatic messaging machine. A review of the Attorney General Charitable Organizations shows that Focus on Veterans last Annual Report was from the period of 5/10/10 to 12/31/10. No dollar figures were listed. Giver beware.
In yet another annual scam, I was emailed by a Wendy Lane resident this week asking if I knew anything about phone call solicitations on behalf of Am Vet Post #495 in Millis. I was a little shocked that the phone calls to local residents were arriving so early this year, normally they arrive in early January. Once again this organization uses a paid solicitor to make calls on behalf of their post. In the past the solicitor received 75% of your donation and Am Vets Post takes the remaining 25%. Why these folks haven't been shut down by the Attorney General is beyond me. I nor anyone in the local Holliston Veterans organizations of the American Legion or VFW are aware of any local veterans being helped by Am Vet Post 495. Nuff said?
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