Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson


OLYMPIA -- The Washington state Attorney General's Office is warning consumers to be on the watch for con artists who will try to take advantage of the public's good will in this time of national tragedy.

While the office has only had a few complaints so far, it is a good time to remind people about basics tips on how to donate wisely.

People should thoroughly check out charitable solicitations before giving.

Consumers should be aware of certain warning signs before giving.

  • Don't be fooled by a name. Some charities, including for-profit companies, have sympathetic sounding names, or names that closely resemble those of respected, legitimate charities.
  • Don't fall for a "sob story." The hard luck tale is a favorite ploy of the phony operator. A legitimate charity will tell you how it is using your money to make a difference for the better.
  • 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 mail your check directly to the charity.
  • Be wary of charities that offer to send a courier over immediately to collect your money.

For information on charities within Washington, call the Secretary of State's Charity Hotline at 1-800-332-GIVE (1-800-322-4483.) -30-

Contact: Chris Jarvis, AGO Public Affairs, (206) 464-6432