Secretary Wyman encourages Washingtonians to ‘give smart’ this holiday season

(OLYMPIA)— ‘Tis the season for charitable giving, as well as charity scams. To help ensure all donations are going toward their intended causes, Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman is reminding state residents of the dangers of charity fraud with a GiveSmart promotion of charitable awareness.

“Unfortunately, the holidays are an opportune time for scammers and bad actors to take advantage of donors,” said Wyman. “The Office of the Secretary of State wants to be a trusted source of information for Washingtonians, which is why we are promoting GiveSmart, a collaborative effort between my office and the Attorney General’s to empower individuals to make informed decisions before giving.”

Wyman recommends taking these GiveSmart steps before making a donation to a charity or fundraiser:

- 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 and the 2019 Commercial Fundraisers Activity Report.
- If an organization is registered, take time to review its annual registration, including federal tax-exempt status and financial information.
- Check the charity’s Better Business Bureau rating.
- 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.

More resources are available at sos.wa.gov/charities/ResourcesforDonors.aspx. Donors may also contact the SOS Charities Program at 1-800-332-4483 for more information.

Washingtonians who encounter a suspicious charity or commercial fundraiser can file a complaint on the Attorney General’s website.