If you have an item and you would like to know what it is worth, send digital pictures with a brief description to firstname.lastname@example.org,
• On Dec. 8, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln offers his conciliatory plan for reunification of the United States with his Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction. It allowed for a full pardon for and restoration of property to all engaged in the rebellion with the exception of the highest Confederate officials and military leaders.
• On Dec. 6, 1933, a federal judge rules that “Ulysses” by James Joyce is not obscene. The book had been banned in both the United States and England when it came out in 1922. Three years earlier, its serialization in an American review had been cut short by the U.S. Post Office.
• On Dec. 1, 1939, golfing great Lee Trevino is born in Texas. Trevino was known as a prankster. While waiting to start an 18-hole playoff against Jack Nicklaus in the 1971 U.S. Open, Trevino threw a rubber snake at his opponent and then won by three strokes.
• On Dec. 5, 1941, John Steinbeck’s nonfiction book “The Sea of Cortez” is published. The book reflects Steinbeck’s serious study of marine biology. He would later use his knowledge of the sea and its creatures in creating Doc, the marine biologist in “Cannery Row” (1945).
• On Dec. 4, 1952, heavy smog begins to hover over London. Smoke, soot and sulfur dioxide from the area’s industries and cars were trapped by a high-pressure air mass, leading to the deaths of at least 4,000 people, many of whom died in their sleep.
• On Dec. 3, 1967, Lewis Washkansky, 53, receives the first human heart transplant, in Cape Town, South Africa. He was given drugs to keep his body from rejecting the heart, but died 18 days later.
On Dec. 9, 1992, nearly 2,000 U.S. Marines arrive in Mogadishu, Somalia, to spearhead a multinational force aimed at restoring order in the conflict-ridden country. In October 1993, rebels shot down two U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopters and killed 18 American soldiers.
• On Dec. 2, 2001, the Enron Corporation files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, sparking one of the largest corporate scandals in U.S. history. Its collapse cost investors billions of dollars, wiped out 5,600 jobs and liquidated $2.1 billion in pension plans.
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Give with your head and your heart Avoid fraud and make your donations count this holiday season
As the holidays approach and donation requests rise, you may come across more naughty than nice. Scammers will take advantage of your generosity all year long, but especially during the holidays.
But first, remember: Just because there are fraudsters who prey on donors, doesn’t mean you should stop giving. There are great charities out there that help change lives. Please keep giving, but do your research first.
Here is some advice from the Iowa Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division and the Federal Trade Commission:
Resources for consumers
When you donate, you want your money to go to a charity that really helps make a difference. Many reputable charities are deserving of support. The Iowa Attorney General has tips on its website (https://www.iowaattorneygeneral.gov/for-consumers/general-consumer-information/charitable-giving/) to help individuals and businesses find reputable organizations and give wisely. Watch the FTC’s new video “Make Your Donations Count.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlPMiai9ILo&feature=youtu.be)
Do your research
Be careful how you pay
Watch out for scammers’ tricks
What about donation requests through social media, crowdfunding sites and giving portals?
Many requests for donations through social media and crowdfunding sites are legitimate, but some are scams. For example, people may misuse real pictures and stories to get you to donate, but the money goes into their own pockets, not the individuals or organizations depicted in the photos. Crowdfunding sites often have little control over who uses them and how donations are spent. Research before you give. Also, if tax deductions are important to you, remember that donations to individuals are not tax-deductible.
The safest way to give on social media or through crowdfunding is to donate to people you actually know who contact you about a specific project. Don’t assume that solicitations on social media or crowdfunding sites are legitimate — even when they are shared or liked by your friends. Do your own research. Call or contact your friends offline and ask them about the post they shared.
Are you considering donating through a website or social media platform that promises to send your contribution to your chosen charity? That’s a giving portal. These sites make it quick and easy for you to donate to one of several charities. Keep in mind, however: When you donate this way, your money may not go directly to that charity. Another company may get your money first, take some of it as a fee, and then pass on the rest to the charity. And it may take a while for the charity to get it. Learn more of what to look for from the FTC. (https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/donating-through-online-giving-portal?fbclid=IwAR3MrMPELaIjnEN2QnxWcVDFq8ermMkSPrDkTpVqcAE73GqH0FGgstd4eWI)
Advice for businesses
If your company gives charitable donations, the stakes are even higher: When you lend your company name to a charity through a sponsorship or by allowing fundraising on your property, your reputation is on the line. Customers and members of the community may interpret that as a “stamp of approval” and feel safe donating to a cause you’re championing. Check out the FTC’s advice for businesses: Tips for Retailers: How to Review Charity Requests.
How to file a complaint:
If you believe you’ve been scammed or you suspect a charity is acting fraudulently, contact your local law enforcement agency or the Iowa Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division. To file a complaint, go here or call 515-281-5926 (in Des Moines area) or 888-777-4590 (outside the metro area).
For more tips, follow the Iowa Attorney General on Facebook and Twitter at @AGIowa