Arizona's Attorney General is warning Arizona consumers that during the holidays the incidences of fraudulent appeals goes up, as criminals take advantage of the good hearts of Arizona citizens that make charitable donations during this time of year.
The Attorney General's Office provides the following tips to make sure that you are donating to legitimate charities:
- Be skeptical of calls soliciting funds that coincide with highly publicized tragedies, such as the wildfires, tornadoes, or other dramatic events. Fraudulent fund raisers will try to exploit your sympathy for those who have been devastated by such events.
- Be wary of appeals that insist that, due to an emergency, you must send money now.
- Do not make cash donations. If you write a check, make your check payable to the charity, never to the individual soliciting the donation.
- Remember to ask for a receipt and a statement that the contribution is tax deductible.
- Be extremely skeptical of anyone asking for a donation by requesting your credit card number or bank account information over the phone.
- Be careful of charities with names that sound impressive or resemble those of other organizations. Some scam artists use names similar to reputable organizations to confuse donors.
- Find out if the charity is registered with the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office.
Finally, don't respond to any email requests for donations, and if the email provides a phone number for you to call to verify authenticity, don't use that phone number. It could be a scam artist waiting for your call.