The Better Business Bureau is alerting Tennessee Valley residents about pink bags that are being placed on mailboxes.

Both the East Ridge Police Department and the Signal Mountain Police Department have reported that they have received calls about the bags.

The BBB said the bags are from Hope for Domestic Violence or "Clothing for a Cause." The bags have a message on them asking people to donate clothing and other items.

Give.org, the BBB's national charity organization, has been working to gather information for the group which is also known as NSPIRE Outreach, but the charity hasn't responded and is reported as "Did not disclose," a BBB spokesperson explained.

The State of Tennessee imposed a $45,000 civil penalty against NSPIRE in 2014.

"Secretary of State Tre Hargett said the organization misrepresented itself by saying it works with other organizations in which it has no affiliation," a BBB spokesperson explained.

The BBB advises everyone to only give donations to charities they trust.

Here are some tips from the BBB on charitable giving:

  1. Get the charities exact name. With so many charities in existence, mistaken identity is a common problem. Thousands of charities have "cancer" in their name, but no connection with one another.
  2. Resist pressure to give on the spot, whether from a telemarketer or door-to-door solicitor.
  3. Be wary of heart-wrenching appeals and emotion. What matters is what the charity is doing to help.
  4. Press for specifics. If the charity says it's helping the homeless, for example, ask how and where it's working.
  5. Check websites for basics. A charity's mission, program and finances should be available on its site. If not, check for a report at Give.org.
  6. Check with state charity officials. In many states, charities are required to register, usually with the office of the attorney general, before soliciting. Check with the office of Consumer Affairs in Tennessee and Georgia.
  7. Don't assume that every soliciting organization is tax exempt as a charity. Specific charity 501(c)3 regulations are required for tax deductions.

You can find a full list of charities that meet the standards of accountable giving online.