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Cuccinelli Warns of Holiday Scams

by Katie Pyzyk December 19, 2012 at 3:45 pm 3,754 35 Comments

It’s a season for giving, but apparently some scam artists are instead using the opportunity for taking. The Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s office is warning residents to watch out for holiday scams, particularly those involving false charities and phishing.

Some groups use names that sound similar to legitimate charities and pressure consumers for donations. They might also offer particularly touching stories in an attempt to garner sympathy and contributions. The AG’s office said many consumers who would typically notice the sketchy “charities” may be too busy or distracted by the holidays to pick up on the normal cues.

Phishing involves using deceptive emails or text messages to obtain usernames, passwords and financial information from a victim. Consumers might receive an email or text message from someone posing as a representative from a bank or retail establishment, saying the customer’s account has been restricted due to unusual activity or too many unsuccessful online login attempts. The scammer then requests bank account numbers, passwords and/or a social security number to reactivate the account.

Some consumers have received fraudulent text messages, emails or phone calls stating they won a gift card from reputable companies such as Target or Best Buy. Scammers might also say the consumer entered a contest at a store. Both of these tactics are used to bait consumers into providing personal information.

In all cases, consumers should avoid handing over sensitive personal information, and should never feel obligated to donate to a charity under pressure. Ask charity representatives who approach you for more information, and do your own research, the attorney general’s office advises. Check the charity’s website, along with resources such as the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance or the National Association of State Charity Officials.

If a charity is legitimate, it will accept your donation at any time and will not need to pressure for donations. Never give cash, and if using a check, make it out directly to the charity instead of an individual person. Do not use money transfer companies to send money to a person you haven’t met.

“My office is committed to helping consumers protect themselves from falling victim to fraud. When it comes to charity scams, especially around the holidays, it is best that people do lots of research and only give money to charities and businesses they can really trust,” said AG Cuccinelli in a statement. “It is our hope that all Virginians can enjoy a joyful and safe holiday season without being taken advantage of by scammers.”

You can file complaints regarding scams on the consumer protection section of the attorney general’s website.

  • DCBuff

    Uh, who is warning us about AG Cuccinelli scams?

    • novasteve

      What Cuccinelli scams? You mean him daring to not share your views? HOW DARE HE!

      • arlcyclist

        You’re right, we should all just nod our heads and agree with him on all his archaic views: pro life, revoke citizenship rights for children born in the US, pro-gun violence, abstinence-only sex ed, and homosexuality. Not to mention his statement that Obama having been born in Kenya did not “seem beyond the realm of possibility” or the embarrassment he caused nationally by altering the Virginia seal to be more “virtuous” by covering up a boob.

        • novasteve

          Are european countries horrible and unsophisticated and whatever you accuse Cucc of being since they don’t have birthright citizenship?

          he’s pro gun violence? Why do you have to lie to have an agument.

          Pro life is archaic?

          What planet do you live on? Thining killing children is wrong is archaic?

          Only a liberal could think this way.

      • DCBuff

        Steve, it certainly is not a scam to have other views. AG Cuccinelli, while apparently sharing your views, has promoted “legal” views that, in my opinion, are not only contrary to sound common law but are based in his personal or religious views.

      • Sim City

        A certified scam — or maybe it was a which hunt — was his “investigation” of the U Va prof who dared to research global warming. Cooch spent half a million defending subpoenas that were thrown out by the Va Supreme Court

        • CourthouseChris

          This needs to be more widely known. The man wasted our money on a baseless investigation of an academic simply to further the Republican war on science. He is the very worst kind of partisan hack.

          • novasteve

            Funny how it’s libs who want to gut and end NASA because there are poor people out there.

          • drax

            1. Show us a liberal who wants to abolish NASA for poor people, steve. I looked and didn’t find any. I did find some people who want to abolish NASA to keep taxes low, and some who think the free market should take over space exploration. Those people weren’t liberals.

            2. Funny how you ALWAYS dodge points and questions by others, steve.

      • Gimme a Break

        Two words: Vaginal wand

        • novasteve

          Funny how they use those vaginal wands when performing abortions.

          • drax

            No, they don’t always use them. And more important, it’s a CHOICE.

  • drax

    Here’s a scam you shouldn’t give money to:


    • Al Gore

      So brave.

      • CourthouseChris

        You aren’t using that correctly.

  • lmAO-DUDE


  • novasteve

    We need another incompetent boob like Tim Kaine to run virginia into the ground! Maybe the libs can get O’Malley to be Va’s next governor?

    • drax

      How exactly was Kaine an incompetent boob, steve? Let’s see what lies and distortions and mistakes you can come up with.

    • Douglas Parker

      Tim Kaine wants to partner with a freshman Republican to work on bipartisan legislation. In my opinion, anyone on the hill today who is interested in working across isles is not a boob..

      • drax

        Must…resist…urge to…bash misspelling…in good post…Must……resist…..

        • Douglas Parker

          *aisles (noted…for…future)

          Haha, thanks drax. 🙂

    • Brian

      Geez, you need to calm down. Maybe not troll comments on EVERY story on ARLnow.

  • Mary-Austin

    Not a fan of Cuccinelli at all but he has actually won statewide office. I think the Dems are making a huge mistake by going with McAuliffe and that scares me.

    • Alex


    • SR

      He won statewide office in an off-year election when nobody really knew how crazy he was. Still an off-year, but cant hide his views in this election.

    • drax

      It’s not a mistake they want to make, it’s just that nobody will step up and run against him so far.

  • Arlington Cat

    How about the scam of the Cooch going on the radio and quoting DC laws that don’t exist? That scam resulted in 100’s of vulgar emails from Flush Limbaugh listeners to members of the DC City Council, as well as write ups in newspapers as far away as India.

  • Homeowner

    I’m a pretty conservative Republican and even I think Cooch is a clown. I haven’t missed an election (primary or general) over 30 years. But, if my choice for Governor next year is a Carpet-bagging Clinton Bagman vs. a Reactionary Tea-Party Wannabe, I’ll be sitting this one out.

    • grownup

      Life’s tough. Sometimes your choices suck. But sitting it out isn’t the adult thing to do. Hold your nose and vote.

      • Homeowner

        I’m sure I’ll end up voting, but I certainly won’t like it and very well may write in Bill Bolling.

        • drax

          Bolling might be on the ballot too.

          • Dan

            I assume that Bolling and Cuccinelli will face off in the GOP primary….

          • Dan

            Whoops….got that one wrong….the GOP chooses their candidate by convention and apparently Bolling somewhat petulantly removed himself from the running this past weekend.

            So our choice might really be Cooch or the carpet bagger McAuliffe….

          • drax

            And Bolling then hinted that he might run as an independent.

            So he might be on the ballot too.

  • JedKlampett

    Thanks for the PSA. I will ensure that no Arlington county board members are allowed near my property.


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