Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

With the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy fresh in our minds during the holiday season, many of us are seeking ways to share our blessings with those in need.

Sadly, scammers are also looking for their chance to take a bite out of our big-heartedness.

Early in the holiday season, Attorney General Rob McKenna joined Secretary of State Sam Reed in a news conference to release their annual Commercial Fundraiser Activity Report and to share tips on wise holiday giving. 

Just this week, the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Bureau offered tips for people looking to give in response to the Sandy Hook tragedy to make sure they understand some of the pitfalls of giving and how to make sure their money goes where they want it.  These same tips apply equally to other charities and charitable giving.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Check out charities:  Most charities have their hearts in the right place but you should still take time to investigate the charity before sending your donations. You can find registered charities and commercial fundraisers in Washington at the Secretary of State’s Web site: http://www.sos.wa.gov/charities/search.aspx
  • Be careful on-line: Avoid clicking on links to charities in unsolicited texts, e-mails or ads. These links may take you to “phishing” sites that spoof legitimate giving sites to steal your personal and financial information.
  • Know the rules: If you are hoping your help will also be tax-deductible, be aware that family assistance funds are not always set up as charities, making contributions not tax deductible.  Even if the tax deduction doesn’t matter to you, you may want to make sure the family assistance fund is administered through a bank, a CPA or an attorney to help provide oversight and make sure the funds are used as intended.

Check out the full top 10 list here: http://www.bbb.org/us/article/bbb-offers-ten-giving-tips-for-newtown-tragedy-39052  

-Janelle Guthrie-



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