Mississippi is one of the top ranked states for charitable giving. Scammers often call on Mississippians to con them out of money.
Calls seeking donations to support local police and fire departments or solicitations on behalf of charities whose names sound similar to nationally known non-profits, are two ways scammers try to pick the pockets of Mississippians. John O'Hara is with the Better Business Bureau. He says be skeptical about social media requests for donations and phone callers soliciting money.
"It's okay to take that information down and maybe research the organization or find out more before you make your charitable donation because the scammers do come out and they use like names or they use things that people may see in the news, sick dogs, or children or refugees from a country and they try to get you to make a decision to give over the phone," said O'Hara.
Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann says it's common for scam artists to pull on the heart strings of Mississippians.
"I have taken away the charitable status of over 100 corporations this year alone. They have just heart strings like Veterans of Korea Mother's Fund or something and they sound like a really good thing. But when you look there, almost none of their money goes to a charitable purpose," said Hosemann.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, signs of a charity scam include, the caller won't provide detailed information about its mission, costs and how the donation will be used. They don't provide proof a contribution is tax deductible, or the caller guarantees sweepstakes winnings in exchange for the donation. To verify a charity visit the Better Business Bureau's website: bbb.org.