Secretary of State warns Washingtonians about giving to fake charities

Nov 30, 2021, 1:58 PM
charity, giving...
A child looks through books during a Families Feeding Families event in Texas. (File photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
(File photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

While it’s the season for charitable giving, it’s also the season for scammers.

Are you among the 11.5% of Americans not buying holiday gifts in 2021?

On “Giving Tuesday,” the Office of the Secretary of State in Washington is encouraging people to “give smart” this holiday season and ensure their donations go to the intended causes.

“GIVESMART!” offers resources to help Washingtonians — as well as senior centers, retirement communities, and civic and nonprofit organizations — protect themselves from being victimized by fake charities and fundraisers. The campaign is a collaboration between the secretary of state’s corporations and charities division and the state attorney general’s office.

Available resources include an info sheet, a trifold brochure, and questions for telephone solicitations checklist. There is also a new guide for online giving.

Mayfield: Focusing less on money and more on giving

The biggest tips to consider before donating are:

  • Do not give in to high-pressure solicitations demanding an immediate commitment
  • Check the Washington Corporations and Charities Filing System before donating
  • Review an organization’s annual registration — if registered — including its tax-exempt status and financial information
  • Check the organization’s Better Business Bureau rating
  • Call the charity directly to make sure any solicitor from a third-party is authorized to collect donations on the charity’s behalf
  • Do not give any personal information over the phone to any charity, and do not give your personal or financial information in response to a request you did not expect

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Secretary of State warns Washingtonians about giving to fake charities