A viewer called NBC12 after a piece of political mail showed up in her mailbox. She had doubts about responding, and wanted to make sure her money was going to the right place. The mail asking for donations appeared to be from the National Republican Congressional Committee. It asked for some personal information and, while she wanted to contribute, the viewer said something didn't feel right. She contacted NBC12 to make sure it was legitimate.
NRCC's headquarters in Washington, D.C., confirms the mail is from the organization. Lawrence Muir, Chairman of Richmond Republican party, explained how you might end up on a political mailing list. "If you live in the right zip code, have the right magazine subscriptions, if you've donated in the past, you can go VPAP.org and see a list of everyone that has donated $100 or more," he said.
Muir also understands why people might be skeptical, and he says when it comes to your money you should be. He warns not every solicitation is legitimate. "They will send out the catchy subject line, and what they wind up doing is taking your donations and paying themselves substantial salaries and administrative costs," Muir said.
He says always do your research before donating. Call the organization, go to its website and check it out with a reputable consumer agencies like the Better Business Bureau, or in this case the party's headquarters. He says always keep in mind suspicious offers may show up in your email. "If it is a totally unsolicited email, there is a decent chance that this is going to make money for someone and their family, not so much the candidate or the party," Muir said.
The next time you get an offer in the mail and you want to donate, there's an easy to save yourself some trouble. "The most effective way to donate to a political candidate is to donate directly to the candidate. If you want to donate to the party, go directly to the party site," he said. Also, if anyone is asking you wire money, steer clear.