Scammers have been stealing money from Arkansans by posing as veteran charities and requesting charitable donations, according to a news release from Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.

Rutledge recently announced Operation Donate with Honor, a new donor education campaign partnership with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and all 50 states.

The effort was launched to help consumers recognize charitable solicitation fraud and identify legitimate charities. The Arkansas Attorney General’s Office also offers advice to distinguish between fake and real charities.

“Con artists are savvy and may use names similar to already existing, trustworthy charities,” Rutledge said. “If Arkansans know the correct questions to ask, a scam can usually be spotted. This new partnership is one more way to get the word out and ensure that Arkansans’ hard-earned money is actually helping veterans and our brave service men and women.”

Rutledge 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 won’t rush a donation.

• Ask for written information or 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 to ensure it is not a scam.

• 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 benefiting service members and their families.

Rutledge and the FTC have released a video to highlight tips on how to research charities on giving wisely to veterans organizations.

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 other collaborative efforts.

Details: Arkansas Attorney General’s office, 800-482-8982 or consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.