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

Fraud Alert

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 non-profit industry. Usage of a confusingly similar name and logo by other non-profits, 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 services organization that now serves over 70,000 warriors and their families, we cannot be selective in protecting our image. 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.

  • 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.

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 donation. We urge you to contact us at fraudalert@woundedwarriorproject.org to verify any potentially fraudulent fundraising effort.

Wounded Warrior Family Support Found Liable for Stealing

 

Current Wounded Warrior Project Scam Warnings (Updated 5/5/15)

 

WARNING: Door-To-Door Scammer Promises Gift Cards for Donations to WWP

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 solicits donations in the name of WWP, providing bogus receipts and promising the donors gift cards to Big Lots or other retailers.

As a reminder, WWP fundraising efforts do not include 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.

 

WARNING: Telephone Scam

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: http://www.fcc.gov/guides/caller-id-and-spoofing

 

WARNING: Men Claiming to Be WWP Partners Fraudulently Selling T-Shirts to Military Exchanges Nationwide

Two men going by the names Ryan Timothy 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, 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.

WWP has reported Walker and Tucker to local authorities in Knoxville, and the Tennessee state attorney general. As activities span several states, the FBI is now actively investigating the matter.

 

WARNING: Craigslist.org Employment Fraud

A falsified advertisement, appearing most often on Craigslist, offers job seekers an employment opportunity with WWP and requests a résumé. Persons who respond to this ad receive a fraudulent check (which appears to be from WWP) via mail in exchange for wrapping their vehicle with the WWP logo. The scammer will then ask for a MoneyGram or gift cards in return. Authorities investigating this scam, which spans 15 states, have determined the perpetrators typically go by the names Andy Morgan and Douglas Pierce of the “Wounded Warrior Initiative” or “Wounded Warrior Concept.” The scammers also use the name of WWP executive vice president John Roberts with email address exec_drivewarriors@outlook.com.

  • This is NOT the real John Roberts from Wounded Warrior Project, nor is this a WWP email address.
  • “Morgan” and “Pierce” are neither partners of WWP nor authorized or licensed WWP vendors.
  • WWP pays only its vendors, contractors, and legitimate employees, and does not send unsolicited checks in the mail.
  • WWP will never request a vehicle wrap job or advertise potential job openings in this manner.
  • All legitimate WWP job opportunities are listed on our website under “Cool Careers."

If you receive a check purporting to be from WWP and you are unsure of its origins, please contact fraudalert@woundedwarriorproject.org.

 

Known Wounded Warrior Project Scams (Updated 5/5/15)

 

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.

 

Online Fundraising Scam "Fallen Warriors Fund" Masquerading as WWP

Thank you, Twitter followers, for promptly reporting this "charity" impersonating WWP, and for helping to prevent more donors from being swindled into false giving.

 

Missouri Man Receives Eight Years in Prison on 11 Felony Counts

Thank you, Missouri Attorney General Koster, St. Charles, and St. Louis counties, for your combined efforts to bring William Harshbarger to justice for stealing funds people thought they were donating to WWP.

  

Missouri National Guard Member Jailed for Pocketing Charitable Donations

Thank you, Phelps County law enforcement, for protecting WWP donors.

 

Two Men Charged with Scam Solicitations in the Name of WWP

Thank you, residents and law enforcement of Englewood, New Jersey, for protecting the mission of WWP by recognizing and reporting this scam.

 

Man Impersonates WWP Employee, Takes Money for T-Shirts

Thank you, KJRH-TV in Tulsa, Oklahoma for spreading the word about how you can be sure you are donating to a legitimate charity.

 

Con Artist Sentenced to Three Years in Prison after Stealing Thousands by Impersonating WWP

Thank you to local authorities in Columbus and Toledo for bringing this con man to justice.

 

Smear Campaign and Federal Court Judgment

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.

 

SUBSEQUENT ERRONEOUS FINANCIAL INFORMATION
CIRCULATING ONLINE

 

Despite the court ruling, false information continues to be circulated. There are several defamatory blogs on the internet — along with various email chains — that appear to be derived in part from a post by an individual named Alex Graham on the “Veterans Today” website, an email from Dr. Richard Stiso and a blog by a Mr. Burt Prelutsky. The Veterans Today website, in addition to hosting false information about WWP, contains other equally false and offensive content, 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.

We find this website to be patently offensive and strongly encourage everyone to verify the source of “information” they find on the internet.

Although this content indicates the information about our financials presented therein comes from reputable sources such as GuideStar, that 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 is 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 over 19 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.

On the basis of the judgment against Dean Graham, we have asked the editors of the Veterans Today website to publish a retraction and remove columnist Alex Graham’s posts, which contain the false, defamatory information originally published by Dean Graham, of HIVI. To date, we have not received a response. Mr. Burt Prelutsky's blog post has since been removed from the website BernardGoldberg.com but still lives online in other places despite our best efforts to have it removed.

 

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. It has 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.

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.

 

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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