Leaders urge donors to avoid holiday charity scams

December 20, 2011

By Staff

Secretary of State Sam Reed and state Attorney General Rob McKenna urged consumers to beware of holiday charity scams Dec. 14, and unveiled a report to help people donate wisely.

The report, compiled by the Charities Division in Reed’s office, spotlights recent financial information for commercial fundraisers soliciting or collecting donations on behalf of charity clients.

Throughout 2011, charities using commercial fundraisers in Washington received 56 percent of total donations raised by the fundraisers — lower than the 77 percent in last year’s report.

The commercial fundraisers use many methods to solicit the public, including telephone calls and mailers. The fundraisers then take a cut of the donations before sending money to the charitable organization, or charge a fee for services.

Reed’s office offers a searchable guide to registered charities at www.sos.wa.gov/charities/search.aspx. Users can get instant financial histories and other information for fundraisers and charities. Consumers can also call 1-800-332-4483 toll free for the information.

Victims of charity fraud should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Resource Center between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays at 1-800-551-4636 toll free or file a complaint at www.atg.wa.gov.

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