ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT Watch out for fake military charities stealing from Arkansans

LITTLE ROCK -- Scammers attempt to steal money from Arkansans by posing as veterans charities and requesting donations year-round, but the Arkansas attorney general's office says that with Veterans Day it is important consumers are able to recognize charitable solicitation fraud and distinguishing between fake and real charities.

"It's unbelievable that con artists will create charities named similarly to existing, trustworthy organizations in the name of our beloved and dedicated military," Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said in a news release. "Knowing and asking the correct questions will alert Arkansans to potential scams. I am determined to protect Arkansans' hard-earned money and especially those helping veterans and our brave servicemen and women."

The attorney general's office 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 and 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.

• 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 benefitting service members and their families.

In 2015, Rutledge launched the first Military and Veterans Initiative at the attorney general's office to assist active duty military service members, reservists, veterans and their families with consumer-related issues and many other collaborative efforts.

Society on 11/09/2019