FTC cracks down on fake charities

Posted: Updated:
YONKERS -

The Federal Trade Commission announced a major crackdown on fake charities that claim to help veterans and service members.

A coalition involving law enforcement, state attorney generals and the FTC were all part of the crackdown. One group that benefited was Help the Vets.

Joe Simmons, the chairman of the FTC says Help the Vets collected more than $20 million by claiming donations would help veterans. However, the FTC says 95 percent of that money went to the groups expenses, fundraisers and its founder.

More than 100 law enforcement actions were taken on similar groups that have credible names like the National Vietnam Veterans Foundation. In addition, the Veterans of America made illegal robocalls asking for cars, boats and real estate. The FTC says those donations were just resold for the founder's profit.

I'm here to warn scam artists, watch out," says Connecticut Attorney General George Jespen. "We're investigating complaints, we will track you down."

The FTC has made a video to help Americans donate to worthy organizations. The agency says people should always ask for the full name of the group and check either the Better Business Bureau, the Secretary of State or other charity rating websites. Officials say never donate using wire transfers or prepaid cards.

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