Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

News

July 25, 2013

A call for caution against veterans scams

Michael Burke, director of veterans’ services, is warning residents about fraudulent solicitation calls seeking donations for veterans.

Burke says Andover residents recently have been getting calls asking for donations for veterans. Some of the callers are identifying themselves as working for the town Veterans’ Services Office and imply they are raising money for Andover veterans.

“This is a complete falsehood,” he says. “Sadly, this happens from time to time.”

Burke has submitted this article to warn residents to beware of questionable calls for assistance.

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We all wish to assist charities, including veterans’ charities. Yet some charities are better than others in putting your donations to good use. Unfortunately, there are organizations that should be ashamed of what they do, preying on our strong desire to donate and they fail on their end of the bargain.

Please note that my office and veterans’ service offices in Massachusetts have seen an increase in “scams” — non-legitimate organizations preying particularly on the elderly. Often, these entities target a community saying they are sponsored by local veterans and have the support of the local veterans’ services office.

Likewise, there are legitimate organizations out there that exhibit practices that are shameful. Their overhead costs leave relatively little money to the veteran causes they supposedly champion. Additionally, though they claim nonprofit status, their employees’ salaries are downright sinful. Often, their marketing processes, providing a nice “news story,” leave a less than full and accurate portrayal of their full situation as a nonprofit. Lastly, these “legitimate” organizations tend to solicit local funds to go to national endeavors and donations do not assist our local veterans in need.

It is beyond the scope of this office to adequately assess legitimate organizations. Therefore, this office only advocates for donations to our local veterans here in town or donations directly to this office with the intent of assisting our local veterans.

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