The record-setting and devastating flooding in Arkansas means many people are looking for charities and organizations to assist those who are directly impacted by the widespread disaster. While there are many organizations collecting money and resources to help fellow Arkansans, there are also some bad actors who are lining their own pockets by posing as legitimate organizations or setting up crowdfunding sites claiming to be giving to those in need.
“It is despicable that some are preying on Arkansans in need and taking advantage of our kind-hearted,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “My office will investigate and go after those who choose to lie, cheat and steal.”
Attorney General Rutledge released the following tip for those considering helping their fellow Arkansans:
- 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.
- 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.
- On crowdfunding sites, determine any relation the organizer has to the recipient and who is in control of the withdrawals.
- Never send cash. Make check or credit card payments for increased security and for tax purposes.
- If donating via text message, verify the organization’s number prior to sending information.
Also be wary of charities that pop up quickly in response to the recent flooding and other emergencies. Even if they are legitimate, they oftentimes do not have a system in place to get donations to those in need. Consider giving to an established organization which helps disaster victims in the area.
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.