June 4, 2015
Carson City, NV – Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt warns Nevadans of a fraudulent charity scam soliciting donations for veterans. A caller claiming to represent Veterans Helping Nevada Veterans seeks contributions by phone. The caller then directs the contributor to send money to a specified location. In reality, the contributions are forwarded to the residence of a fraudster.
“Nevadans are cautioned not to fall for these scams that take advantage of patriotic generosity,” said Laxalt. “As always, Nevadans are encouraged to contribute to charities, but to contribute wisely after having conducted careful research.”
Nevadans should be wary of charities that refuse to provide proof of their tax deductible status. A legitimate charity should provide detailed information about its identity and mission, and how donations will be used. When making a donation online, consumers should check that the website belongs to a legitimate, established and registered charity, and that the website matches the name of the charity. An extra precaution that could be taken is checking whether other legitimate websites have linked the charity’s website in question.
To ensure that your contribution benefits the causes and individuals you would like to assist, the Office of the Nevada Attorney offers the following suggestions:
- Do not make a donation without conducting preliminary research. Ask for detailed information about the charity, including the name, address and telephone number. Then, conduct some online searches of the charity name in combination with the words “complaint” or “scam” to learn about its reputation. Using online resources offered by the Nevada Secretary of State and the Better Business Bureau can also provide assurance about the trustworthiness of a particular charity. Charity Watch and Charity Navigator also provide information on charitable organizations.
- Review the charity’s financial information or its Form 990. For information on the Form 990, visit the Nevada Secretary of State website. If a charity claims to use your donations to help the local community, contact the local agency and confirm whether the agency is familiar with the charity and receives financial support from it.
- Be wary of solicitations from professional fundraisers who appear to represent a charity. Call the charity directly to verify whether the fundraisers are authorized to act on its behalf. Never make checks payable to a fundraiser, and refrain from providing your credit card number to a fundraiser. Do not feel pressured to give money over the phone. The safest way to make a donation is to mail your check directly to the charity.
- Ask for a receipt showing the amount of your contribution. Be wary of promises of guaranteed sweepstakes or prizes in exchange for a contribution. Donations never have to be given in order to be eligible to win a prize or sweepstakes.
For additional assistance, call the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP or visit the FTC online here. If you believe you are a victim of this fraudulent charity scam, or any other scam, file a complaint with the Office of the Nevada Attorney General here. To view a letter soliciting donations from Veterans Helping Nevada Veterans, click here.