WWP RESPONSE TO FALSE NEWS REPORTS
Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is a leader in nonprofit transparency and the public reporting of the organization’s independent financial audits. We are an open book. We owe that to those who support us and to those we serve - wounded warriors.
The chair of Wounded Warrior Project’s Audit Committee, Richard M. Jones, a prominent tax attorney and certified public accountant, is the Executive Vice President, General Tax Counsel, and Chief Veteran Officer at CBS Corporation. Mr. Jones stands by our financial statements, our reporting methods, our public filings, and our independent audits.
CBS News did not reach out to Mr. Jones prior to airing a story with false information about our finances.
Wounded Warrior Project provides more than 20 needs-specific, free programs and services to more than 83,000 wounded veterans, who we call Alumni, and more than 15,000 family support members. We are constantly expanding our services to better support warriors. We just launched the Warrior Care Network™ to help provide world-class mental health care for wounded veterans. Warrior Care Network represents a $100 million investment to ensure warriors struggling with the hidden wounds of war get the help they need. We have already committed $110 million to our long-term support initiatives – the Independence Program and Long-Term Support Trust – two programs that directly help the most severely injured veterans.
To be clear, Wounded Warrior Project is trusted by nearly 100,000 veterans, their caregivers, and families, to provide them with critical care programs and services every day. Alumni regularly praise our organization for making a life-altering impact. The demand for our services continues to grow as evidenced by the more than 1,200 new registrations we receive from the wounded each month. And, we are proud to welcome so many of our Alumni as WWP staff. Their belief in - and passion for - who we are, what we do, and why it matters, is evidenced in their very lives.
Many people like to talk about the need to support wounded warriors - Wounded Warrior Project is actually doing it - every day and in record numbers.
WHY WE PROTECT OUR NAME AND LOGO
Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) takes our commitment to protecting our name and logo seriously. This is an obligation we have to our alumni and their families, our donors, and the nonprofit industry. Usage of a confusingly similar name and logo by other nonprofits, has raised issues with donors believing they are supporting the efforts of WWP, when they were not.
Most important of all, WWP has a responsibility to our warriors – to be there for a lifetime. Our logo belongs to the warriors and families we serve, and therefore WWP acts to protect the goodwill associated with our trademark. As a veterans service organization that now serves over 70,000 warriors and their families, we cannot be selective in protecting our trademarks. Our mission to honor and empower Wounded Warriors permeates every aspect of our organization, which is why we defend and safeguard the representation of our nations’ heroes.
Scams using the WWP name hurt us, our supporters, and the warriors we're all working to support. Unfortunately, military families are often a target for fraud in general, including fake charities using certain buzzwords to gain trust and donations.
The time and expense required to respond to these scams detract from our efforts on behalf of injured service members and their families. These scams can also compromise personal information that is potentially harmful to warriors, their families, and WWP supporters.
WWP FUNDRAISING EFFORTS DO NOT INCLUDE:
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 donation. We urge you to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to verify any potentially fraudulent fundraising effort.
CURRENT SCAM ALERTS (UPDATED 1/21/16)
A “Mark Smith” based in California is sending fraudulent checks to individuals usually in response to an online classifieds ad, such as Craigslist, for goods or services.
Job seekers report receiving offers for unsolicited positions in response to Craigslist job postings under various titles including front desk receptionist. These job offers typically include a “paid to drive concept” for Wounded Warrior Initiative or Wounded Warrior Concept, “a subsidiary of woundedwarriorproject.org.” Respondents then receive a fraudulent cashier’s check via mail in exchange for wrapping their vehicle with the WWP logo. The scammer requests a MoneyGram or gift cards in return for the overpayment or “rental fee” to wrap the vehicle. Authorities investigating this scam, which spans over 15 states, have determined the perpetrators typically go by the names Andy Morgan and Douglas Pierce. The scammers use the names of WWP executive vice president John Roberts with email address email@example.com, and WWP chief development officer Adam Silva as “Director Planning And Research,” with email address firstname.lastname@example.org
The second employment-based scam offers job seekers to wrap their vehicles with advertising logos for energy drinks such as Monster, XTC, Zipfizz, Bud-Light Energy Drinks or Samsung. The job seeker/victim receives a fraudulent check with WWP banking information, sent UPS 2nd Day Air from Illinois, usually from “Dave.” The victim is advised to cash the check, keep a portion as their first week pay, and send the remaining balance to a third party (usually by money order) for the cost of the wrap. After the check bounces, the victim is left with a substantial overdraft while the scammers have received money from the victim’s bank.
If you are the victim of these scams, or if you receive a check purporting to be from WWP and you are unsure of its origins, please contact email@example.com.
Informing the bank the check is drafted from is helpful in resolving these issues. The Federal Trade Commission provides links on how to report fraudulent checks, at www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0159-fake-checks.
Two men going by the names Timothy Ryan/Ray Walker and Zarek Tucker, operating as partners of “Wounded Warrior Project Tennessee,” are selling T-shirts with the WWP logo on them to military exchanges nationwide, using the name “Freedom Shirts.” WWP has received inquiries from several service members and exchanges in Knoxville and Nashville, Tennessee; San Antonio, Texas; Little Rock, Arkansas; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Tampa and Pensacola, Florida, and Belleville, Illinois. Walker and Tucker are neither partners of WWP nor authorized or licensed WWP vendors, and their sales do not benefit WWP.
Recently, Walker and Tucker have solicited the “donation” of vacation homes and material goods such as groceries, claiming these generous offerings benefit those assisting warriors on military bases, or warriors directly.
WWP has reported Walker and Tucker to local authorities and exchanges in Pensacola and Knoxville, and the Tennessee state attorney general. As activities span several states, the FBI is now actively investigating the matter.
WWP has been made aware of an individual, occasionally going by the name “Brian Campbell,” operating in and around the Atlanta, Georgia area. This person fraudulently represents themselves as a WWP employee, carrying a clipboard and wearing a suit, tie and badge. This person solicits cash donations in exchange for gift cards to Big Lots or other retailers, providing bogus receipts. As a reminder, WWP fundraising efforts donotinclude door-to-door solicitation or the promise of gift cards in return for donations. Cobb County law enforcement has been notified of this individual and is currently investigating.
WWP has had several callers report a telephone scam to us. The phone number shows up as (888) 888-3011 on caller ID. Promises of cash prizes and the return number (855) 345-6102 are typically given by “Eric.” Upon calling back either phone number, calls were then routed to Wounded Warrior Project.
This may be what the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) refers to as “caller ID spoofing.” The FCC is aware of the problem and is taking steps to identify the perpetrators, and asks anyone who receives these calls to file a complaint with the FCC. You can find out more on caller ID spoofing and file a complaint here: fcc.gov/guides/caller-id-and-spoofing
A three-judge panel has denied an appeal and upheld the original verdict in a battle between two charities that support returning American veterans and were using similar names. Read more.
MISCONCEPTIONS & SMEAR CAMPAIGN
Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is NOT anti-gun
Any statements to the contrary are false and untrue. WWP has always supported the Constitution of the United States of America, including the Second Amendment. We recognize these are freedoms our service members fought and sacrificed to protect. Our mission focus is on supporting our nation's wounded veterans and providing therapeutic and beneficial programs, including hunting and outdoor activities. We have a long history of facilitating and sponsoring activities that involve firearms. We value the contributions we receive from fundraisers and donors, including the firearm and sporting industry and organizations.
Alex Graham and Veterans Today Articles:
On April 28, 2015, Gordon “Alex” Graham issued a retraction to his Veterans Today articles and postings to his Asknod.com blog, both of which contained false and untrue information about Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). In addition to his retraction, Mr. Graham issued an apology to WWP and all veterans for his “false, misleading and defamatory” statements.
In his retraction and apology, Mr. Graham admitted that his actions were not only false, but also harmful to the wounded servicemen and women we serve, and acknowledged the truth: that WWP positively impacts wounded veterans with our lifesaving services. Follow the link below to view the court documents.
On Friday, June 20, 2014, the federal court hearing our case entered a judgment against Dean Graham and his organization Help Indiana Vets, Inc. (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 a 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.
GuideStar Warns of False Statements Used Online
View GuideStar's official release
Washington, D.C.—December 22, 2014—We understand that GuideStar’s data was used as reference in some recently published blog posts and circulated email chains about the Wounded Warrior Project.
GuideStar is inaccurately attributed as saying “the Wounded Warrior Project might as well be run by the Mafia.” To be clear, neither GuideStar, nor any of its employees, said this quote. It is inaccurate and against our policy to comment on specific organizations.
Additionally, the author inaccurately states that GuideStar is “a group that investigates charities.” GuideStar does not investigate charities. We provide data and information to the public and allow them to use that information to make better educated decisions about the nonprofit sector.
Beyond these discrepancies, the author has used the data behind his overall assertion incorrectly. The statement that the Wounded Warrior Project “only used 3.5% of the money it received for the purpose intended,” fails to include the almost $70 million that was used on direct program expenses that year. It should be noted the following year that spend increased to $117 million.
Furthermore, GuideStar does not believe that so called overhead ratios are a fair proxy to judge the impact that a nonprofit organization has on advancing its mission. The amount spent on “administrative” versus “program” expenses has no correlation on the amount of impact that organization is having. And it’s the impact a charity makes that really matters.
GuideStar has asked the author to correct this statement ASAP.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
If you suspect fraud, immediately contact your state or local consumer protection office. These agencies have the best available resources to investigate and prosecute these matters. You can locate your state or local office online at: 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reporting potential fraudulent activity to WWP is integral to protecting the integrity of our organization, and empowers us to continue helping service members and their families.
For more on veteran and military family charitable solicitations, visit: consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0121-charitable-solicitations-vet-military-families. Also, check back here often for updated information on current scams and fraud alerts.
You can also report any incidents of consumer fraud or deception directly to the Federal Trade Commission at 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 bbb.org.
877.TEAM.WWP (832.6997)t: 904.296.7350 | f: 904.296.73474899 Belfort Road, Suite 300Jacksonville, Florida 32256CFC #11425