OLYMPIA -- Be careful about giving money to groups that claim to be helping victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, state officials warned today.
In what some would consider a disturbing sign of the times, Attorney General Rob Ferguson and Secretary of State Kim Wyman issued the caution barely 24 hours after a pair of bombs were detonated near the finish line of the iconic race.
Fake fundraisers will use the tragedy to scam people into making bogus contributions, they warned. Be careful with your money and make sure the donation helps those who really need help.
They offered some good tips for making any charitable contribution, but particularly in times of tragedy. Those tips can be found inside the blog.
Ferguson and Wyman provided the following tips to people wishing to help:
· Only give to charities you personally know and trust— or do some homework before contributing.
· Be suspicious of immediate donation requests. Scammers know we are all feeling an urgent need to help and they will capitalize on it.
· Remember it is not necessary to donate immediately. Take your time and donate to a legitimate organization that is offering assistance to victims. Victims will need your help not just today – but in the days to come.
· Don't give in to pressure. Tell the solicitor you want to take time to make your decision.
· Don't pay by cash. Pay by check and make it out to the charity (using its full name, not initials) not to the fundraiser.
· Never give your credit card number to a fundraiser over the phone.
· If the fundraiser comes to your door, always ask for identification. Alternatively, you can take the fundraiser’s information and mail your check directly to the charity.
· Don't be fooled by a name. Some phone charities, including for-profit companies, have sympathetic sounding names, or names that closely resemble those of respected, legitimate charities.
Wyman said the state has an excellent charities lookup for consumers at http://www.sos.wa.gov/charities/search.aspx.