LITTLE ROCK – The holidays bring out the best in Arkansans, but there are some who try to take advantage of our kind hearts by posing as a charitable organization helping Arkansans during the holiday season. Scam artists can use similar-sounding names to legitimate charities and may often be pushy, but provide little information.
“Arkansans are known for generosity during the holiday season,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “While Giving Tuesday is a big day for donations, we know Americans often give more than on just one allotted day. Leading up to the season of giving, it is important for each of us to thoroughly research where we send our money to ensure that it is helping the most people possible.”
Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to help consumers give to only legitimate charities:
* Do not fall prey to high-pressure sales tactics as they are often the first sign of an unscrupulous and fraudulent charity.
* Before getting out a checkbook or credit card in response to a phone solicitation, make attempts to determine the validity of the organization by conducting research.
* Get the organization’s name, address, website and phone number, or give directly to a known nonprofit of your choice. Make sure the nonprofit organization is registered with the Arkansas Secretary of State.
* Use GuideStar.org to compare nonprofit organizations and to get more information.
* Ask the organization how it will spend your donation.
* Watch out for similar but different organization names as some con artists will use names similar to those of existing, reputable nonprofits in order to trick consumers.
* Do not give out financial or personal information over the phone or through email to an unknown entity. This information could fall into the wrong hands, or the scammers could use it to steal your money or identity.
* Never send cash. Make check or credit card payments for increased security and tax purposes.
* If donating via text message, verify the organization’s number prior to sending information.
For more information about other common scams and consumer-related issues, please call the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.