Wounded Warrior Project. 10 Years: a decade of service - a lifetime of commitment

Fraud Alert

Scams using the WWP name hurt us, our supporters, and the warriors we're all working to support.

 

Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has recently noticed a spike in scams using the WWP name and trademarks.

Unfortunately, military families are often a target for fraud in general: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0121-charitable-solicitations-vet-military-families

The time and expense required to respond to these scams detracts from our efforts on behalf of injured service members and their families. The scams can also divulge personal information that is potentially harmful to warriors, their families, and WWP supporters.

NEVER provide personal or financial information to unknown individuals. It is a federal crime for a person to pose as a WWP representative for the purpose of fraudulently soliciting, collecting, or receiving money — and we are actively addressing the concern.

 

WWP fundraising efforts do not include:

  • Door-to-door solicitations,
  • Magazine sales,
  • Cold-call telemarketing, or
  • Storefront fundraising.

If you encounter an alleged WWP representative in ANY of these scenarios, it might be a scammer trying to gain your trust and solicit a fraudulent payment or donation.

 

Active Wounded Warrior Project Scams (Updated 6/21/14)

 

Judgment Against Graham Defamation

There are several defamatory blogs on the internet — along with a circulating email — that were derived in part from an original post by Dean Graham and subsequently used in postings by Alex Graham and the "Veterans Today” website. Because the writings were blatantly false and defamatory in nature, we sued Dean Graham and his organization, Help Indiana Vets, Inc. (HIVI). On Friday, June 20, 2014, the federal court hearing our case entered a judgment against Dean Graham and HIVI and permanently enjoined both from making defamatory statements about WWP. What this means is that Dean acknowledged he made false and defamatory statements, the Court entered judgment accordingly, and Dean/HIVI are no longer permitted to make defamatory statements about Wounded Warrior Project. Follow the links below to view the court documents.

On the basis of this legal ruling, we have asked the editors of the Veterans Today website to remove Alex Graham’s posts, which contain the false, defamatory information originally published by Dean Graham and to publish a retraction. The false information about WWP published on Veterans Today falls in line with other false content on the site including:

  1. a blog post indicating that President G.H.W. Bush was involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy,
  2. articles written by two editors of the website alleging the terrorist attacks of 9/11 were actually carried out by the United States and Israel, and
  3. a post alleging the Sandy Hook tragedy was carried out by Mossad agents in collusion with the US Department of Homeland Security.

Most recently, the editor of the website expressed dismay at not making the Top Ten Anti-Semites List. We find this website to be patently offensive and strongly encourage everyone to verify the source of "information" they find on the internet. 

The email circulating indicates the information about our financials presented therein comes from reputable sources such as GuideStar, which is a lie, and the numbers have been fabricated in an effort to defame WWP. Here are a few examples of the false information contained in the email:

  1. The information falsely states that WWP had $115,199,467 in overhead expenses reported on our 2012 IRS form 990. Our 2012 990 actually shows that WWP’s total expenses (program, admin, and fundraising) were $95,511,549. The reported $115,199,467 in overhead expenses is a made up number. We are independently audited every year, and copies of our financial documents since our inception are easily accessible for free on our website at http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/mission/financials.aspx
  2. The information falsely indicates that WWP pays excessive compensation. The truth is that compensation for executive staff at WWP is set following IRS rules and based on comparison data derived from industry wide surveys and review of IRS 990s of other nonprofits who are of like size and scope. Our salaries are consistent with industry standards and, rather than being excessive, have often fallen at the lower end of compensation paid at comparable organizations.
  3. The information claims that only 3.5% of WWP’s income is being expended to directly help service members. This is patently false, which is readily verifiable. The email author uses the amount of funds WWP grants to other organizations as the basis for this falsehood, suggesting those grants represent the totality of our programs. The truth is that WWP directly operates 20 programs and services to support warriors and their families. The vast majority of our program expenditures constitute those internally-operated programs. Descriptions of our programs can be found on our website and are provided on our IRS form 990 and audited financial statements along with a breakdown of the amount spent on each program. Again, our IRS form 990s and audited financial statements since inception can be easily accessed for free on our website at http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/mission/financials.aspx

 

Fraud on Craigslist.org

WWP has been alerted about an advertisement, appearing most often on Craigslist.org, that offers job seekers and supporters an employment opportunity with WWP and requests a resumé. Persons who respond to this false opportunity receive a fraudulent check via mail in exchange for wrapping the person’s car with the WWP logo. The scammer will then ask for a money-gram or gift cards in return. Thus far we have been notified of 15 states in which these ads appeared and the authorities have found the perpetrators typically go by the names Andy Morgan and Douglas Pierce as Wounded Warrior Initiative or Wounded Warrior Concept.

More recently, this advertisement scam offers an employment opportunity for a "Warehouse Worker.”  After a job seeker responds, the scammers say the position has been filled and direct the job seeker to the vehicle wrap "paid to drive" scam mentioned above. Unfortunately, the scammers are now using the name of WWP executive vice president John Roberts and the email address exec_drivewarriors@outlook.com.

This is NOT the real John Roberts from Wounded Warrior Project.

All legitimate WWP job opportunities are listed on our website under “Cool Careers”.

The above mentioned advertisement scam now involves checks appearing to be from WWP. The checks appear to be sent from WWP and include information from legitimate financial institutions. WWP pays only its vendors, contractors, and employees, and does not send unsolicited checks in the mail. If you receive a check purporting to be from WWP, and you are unsure of its origins, please contact fraudalert@woundedwarriorproject.org

 

What you can do

 

If you suspect fraud, immediately contact your state or local consumer protection office. They have the best available resources to investigate and prosecute these matters. You can locate your state or local office online at: http://www.usa.gov/directory/stateconsumer/index.shtml

We’d also appreciate a heads-up! If we get several of the same alert, we can then post it to this page. Email fraudalert@woundedwarriorproject.org.

Thank you for reporting this to your local consumer protection office. It goes a long way in protecting the integrity of our brand and ability to continue the mission to honor and empower Wounded Warriors – of which you are now a part by helping us to report these activities. 

 

Additional Resources

 

For more on veteran and military family charitable solicitations, visit: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0121-charitable-solicitations-vet-military-families

You can also report any incidents of consumer fraud or deception directly to the Federal Trade Commission at http://www.ftc.gov/charityfraud or call (877) FTC-HELP.

If you believe an organization or website may not be operating for its claimed charitable purpose, contact your state Attorney General or the Better Business Bureau at http://www.bbb.org/

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