In a season in which the spirit of generous giving is high, it is unfortunately common for scammers to take advantage of Washingtonians’ charitable nature.
To ensure that all donations are going to help worthy causes, Secretary of State Kim Wyman is working to alert state residents to the dangers of holiday charity fraud with a GiveSmart (https://www.sos.wa.gov/charities/givesmart.aspx) promotion of charitable awareness.
“As generous and well-meaning as Washingtonians are, it’s possible for scammers to use fake names and other deceptions to try and steal donations intended to help the less fortunate,” Secretary Wyman said. “GiveSmart provides information to consumers so they are armed with information to outsmart the scammers.”
Secretary Wyman recommends taking these GiveSmart steps before making a first donation to a charity:
* Don’t give in to high-pressure solicitations demanding an instant commitment.
* Do research before giving by checking the Secretary of State’s charity registration database.
* If an organization is registered, take time to review its annual registration, including federal tax-exempt status and financial information.
* If the organization is unregistered, contact the SOS Charities Program at 1-800-332-4483 to learn why or get other information.
* Check the charity’s Better Business Bureau rating.
* More resources are available at www.sos.wa.gov/charities/ResourcesforDonors.aspx.
* If a third party is raising money for a charity, call the charity directly to make sure it has authorized the paid solicitor to collect donations on its behalf.
Washingtonians who encounter a suspicious charity or commercial fundraiser can file a complaint at the Attorney General’s website (http://www.atg.wa.gov/file-complaint).
– Secretary of State Kim Wyman