— What follows is a news release from New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald, dated November 13, reprinted with permission. Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald announces a settlement between 24 states, including New Hampshire, and VietNow National Headquarters, Inc., an Illinois nonprofit corporation, resulting in the organization’s dissolution. The settlement resolves allegations that VietNow misrepresented its charitable programs to donors.  A receiver will be appointed to dissolve the organization.  The settlement includes an injunction order against VietNow’s directors and officers and …

— Last year, Americans gave over $373 billion to charity. Government officials who regulate charities and fundraisers say that most charities are legitimate, but there are fundraisers that keep most of the money they raise. As you consider year-end giving, do your research. Check out charities at www.give.org  or www.charitynavigator.org to make sure your money is going where it should and not into the pockets of scammers! Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop a …

— It’s the season of giving but con artists are taking–here are some tips from the AARP Fraud Watch Network on how to protect yourself from holiday scams: Check the charity: Before donating to a charity, make sure it is registered with the Secretary of State and ask how much of the money goes to the charitable fundraiser and how much goes to the charitable purpose. Skip the rack: Only purchase gift cards from reputable sources. Better yet, get them directly …

— The holidays and the end of the year are upon us, which means it is time for giving. In a recent survey, the AARP Foundation ElderWatch found that while 80 percent of Coloradans give to charity, 46 percent of those who gave made contributions without verifying the legitimacy of the charity. Before you give, take these simple steps to ensure the money you are donating is going to the intended cause: Never give payment information to anyone calling you. Ask …

— 11/9 SCAM ALERT Veterans Day is prime time for bogus charities, who like to claim they are benefiting our nation’s veterans. Scammers often use sound-alike names (or invent authentic “organizations”) to solicit funds. Before donating, authenticate charities by checking names and reputations at give.org or www.charitynavigator.org. On Veteran’s Day we should be honoring our veterans, not lining the pockets of scammers who use their name so disrespectfully. Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop …

— By Chuck Harwood, Director, Northwest Region, Federal Trade Commission In this season of giving, we might be making our gift shopping list and checking it twice. We might be thinking about charitable donations before the end of the year. Whatever your giving plans, the Federal Trade Commission has suggestions to help you stretch your giving budget, reduce the chances your gifts come packaged with problems, and ensure your donations reach those you hoped to help. Whether you’re shopping by phone, …

protect yourself from fraud!

— With the holiday giving season approaching, a new survey from the AARP Fraud Watch Network found that 62% of South Carolina consumers failed a quiz about how to stay safe from common holiday scams, and many are regularly engaging in risky behaviors which could leave them at risk of being victimized by con artists. A report, “Beware the Grinch: Consumers At Risk of Being Scammed During the Holidays,” details AARP’s polling of South Carolina consumers regarding the most common holiday …

— AARP members and their friends are invited come together to laugh for a charitable cause when Menopause: The Musical takes the stage at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 13 at the Packard Musical Hall in Warren. Meet and mingle with AARP members and their guests at a pre-show reception at Bourbon 45 prior to the musical starting at 6:00 pm. The performance begins at 8:00 pm. This musical parody staged to classic tunes from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s features …

— As donors consider contributing to relief efforts for the Snohomish County mudslide tragedy, Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Secretary of State Kim Wyman are urging consumers to be on guard against scam artists who try to take advantage of the situation. The officials joined forces with the Better Business Bureau in reminding consumers that rip-off artists follow news coverage of natural disasters like this one and swoop in under the guise of helping victims, but end up victimizing the well-intended …

— Many scams could be avoided if consumers took two simple steps before acting: to ask and check. Questions are empowering, and many scammers will shut down once you start asking them. However, it’s a good idea to not only ask questions, but to do your homework on their answers. Here are three examples of how to ask and check to help prevent financial exploitation: A financial professional contacts you with a hot new investment opportunity. Ask the professional if he …