Veterans Groups Urge People to be Careful Where They Send Donati - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Veterans Groups Urge People to be Careful Where They Send Donations

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Members of some veterans groups in Kent County are warning people to wary of some individuals and groups who are pretending to be veterans or work on their behalf.

The groups are telling people to be on the lookout for "stolen valor," which occurs when someone poses as a veteran or active service member, often using military clothing or paraphernalia, as well as phone solicitors who claim to represent organizations that do work with veterans.

This year, Delaware passed a stolen valor law that could lead to fines of at least $1,000 to people who pretend to be veterans or service members to receive benefits they don't deserve.

Dave Scocik heads the Delaware Veterans Coalition and says most former service members don't go to the public just asking for money and that people should be careful when they're approached or called on the phone.

"A lot of times when you see public solicitation, none of this money is getting to the veteran," he said.

Owen Cole, who served nine years with the Delaware National Guard and currently acts as commander of the Kent County American Legion District, said people need to be wary of donating over the phone to people who say they're with veterans groups.

"At nighttime, I'll get two or three phone calls, (purportedly) collecting for Wounded Warriors Project," he said. "I say 'that's fine but I'm American Legion' and they hang up as soon as they hear that."

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