JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - In light of Hurricane Harvey, the Arkansas Attorney General's Office is urging residents to use caution when giving during such disasters.
The office states after disasters strike they receive reports of "charities" targeting Arkansans.
These con artists or scammers usually provide as little information about their "organization" while also trying to convince potential donors they are legitimate.
"Many of these fake organizations will pick a name and logo that is similar to an existing, legitimate organization that is helping those in need in Texas," said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge in a Wednesday news release. "Arkansans must stay diligent, do their research on charities and know how their money will be used."
Rutledge offered the following tips:
- If you receive a phone solicitation for donations, do not immediately get out your checkbook or credit card. High-pressure sales tactics are a red flag that you may be dealing with an unscrupulous charity.
- Do your 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 Attorney General’s Office.
- 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 like 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 you wish to donate through a text message, verify the organization’s number before doing so.
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