VERIFY: How to spot disaster relief scams

How to spot a disaster relief scam

It's a sad reality. When disaster hits, scammers do too. They prey upon people's generosity and compassion, but how can you spot what's real and what's not?

It could be anything from a simple email to a cold call from fraudsters and opportunists trying to cash in.

The pictures and videos alone are heartbreaking from places in Texas, Florida, and South Carolina. It's a one-two punch of emotion and sadness.

While the floodwaters haven't receded in many places, a flood of scam emails and calls are mixing in with the genuine calls for help.

"Too often we see con artists calling Arkansas with our big ole hearts," said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.

But how can you truly know who is not a con artist?

Rutledge said that if you receive a solicitation by phone for donations, don't go for your checkbook or credit card right away. High pressure sales tactics are a red flag that you may be dealing with an unscrupulous charity.

Before donating, get the organization's name, address, website, and phone number and make sure it's legit. After that, you should make sure the non-profit is registered with the Arkansas Attorney General's Office.

You can find a list by clicking here.

And always be sure to inquire how and where your donation will be spent.

Rutledge also warned to avoid giving out personal information over the phone or through email. The information could fall into the wrong hands or the scammers could use it to steal your money or identity.

If you wish to donate through a text message, make sure to verify the organization's number before doing so.

Rutledge said the best rule of thumb is to remain kind hearted but always investigate where your money is going.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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