Don't let those crisp Army uniforms trick you into donating
Highlands TodayWe've all seen them standing at intersections taking donations. The collectors walk into crosswalks and down rows of cars sitting at stoplights, donation bucket in hand, with important sounding signs or phony credentials. And car after car rolls down windows to toss money in the bucket, thinking they've done something good. Unfortunately, often that's not the case.
Published: June 17, 2012
Published: June 17, 2012
The latest questionable donation scheme is being worked by men dressed in Army fatigues asking for money to help veterans. It sure looks legitimate but a lot of local veterans are asking people not to donate. The organization doing the drive is not local, and when Highlands Today questioned them by phone the answers fell short of passing the smell test.
The fact is, a lot of unscrupulous people will do anything to get your money. Even if what they are doing is technically legal, it doesn't mean it's legit. In fact, many of these groups are far from it.
A group claiming to be a church often stands at U.S. 27 and the Sebring Parkway seeking donations. They work every angle and even a bus or van often is parked nearby that gives the illusion that they are a local group seeking donations for a good cause. The fact is, they are not even from Florida and when asked who they are or where they are from, they scatter like cockroaches.
The issue is that a lot of good people want to help out people in need. That's wonderful, and it's also why these scams are even more painful. They are playing on people's emotions to give money and the money is only making someone far away wealthy. If there's any distribution of funds, it's only enough to stay legal.
There's nothing local law enforcement can do to stop them, unless they are doing something illegal. A lot of legitimate, local fundraisers also use this method and the money they raise goes to important local charities. No one wants to stop them from being held. We want to help out our local charities.
The questionable fundraising being done by the so-called military guys should be avoided. There are plenty of local disabled veteran associations and groups right here in town that already do fantastic work. Donate to them directly, not some unknown group playing dress up.
It's sickening that so many fundraising schemes prey on good people. It's frustrating that so many people fall for it. Don't let military uniforms and slick brochures convince you these groups are doing something to help our veterans. Go to any veterans office and find out how to really help.