It is important for Arkansans to be vigilant and do their homework when donating to a new charity for the first time. Scammers have been stealing money from Arkansans by posing as veterans’ charities and often requesting charitable donations, according to a news release from Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.
Even though scammers can leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth, it is important to note that there are still many well intentioned military and veterans charities across Arkansas and the country doing tireless work for the nation’s heroes, according to the release.
“Arkansas is just one big small town and the fantastic people of our state have a giving spirit, especially when it comes to our men and women in uniform,” Rutledge said. “But, I want to make sure Arkansans’ generosity is not taken for granted by con artists looking to make a quick buck posing as a fake military or veteran’s charity.”
Rutledge released the following tips to help consumers ensure an organization’s legitimacy before giving money:
• Ask questions before giving. Only give when comfortable that the donation will support a trustworthy organization or activity. Refuse high-pressure appeals. Legitimate charities will not rush a donation.
• Ask for written information or research the organization online. A legitimate charity will send information that provides the organization’s mission and how the donation will be used, along with proof that the contribution is tax deductible.
• Call the charity directly. To avoid falling victim to sham solicitors, personally contact the charity before giving a donation by email, to the person knocking at the front door or to a telephone solicitor to ensure it is not a scam.
• Do not send cash. For security and tax records, make donations by check or credit card.
• Search the Arkansas Charities Database for more information on charities in Arkansas, including those benefiting service members and their families.
The FTC has released a video to highlight tips on how to research charities on giving wisely to veterans organizations. For details and tips to avoid scams and other consumer related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at email@example.com or ArkansasAG.gov or 800-482-8982.