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Watch out for disaster relief scams


September 6, 2017

Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman is warning people to beware of scammers taking advantage of hurricane and other disasters.

“Attorney General Bob Ferguson and I are teaming up to urge everyone to be aware of scam artists exploiting relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey, which recently struck the southeastern Texas coast,” Wyman said in a recent statement.

“When there is a natural disaster, scam artists try to take advantage of people’s compassion. Scammers might try to persuade consumers to give money for Hurricane Harvey relief. I encourage people to check the Office Secretary of State’s Charities Program webpage when they come across charities related to relief efforts.”

Wyman offered these tips to keep gift-giving safe:

• Be suspicious of solicitors requesting immediate donations. Don’t give in to high-pressure tactics. Be sure to take time to research the charity. Check out the organization’s registration status by going to the Charities Program webpage or calling (800) 332-4483.

• Pay with care. Never give out credit card numbers over the phone. Avoid cash donations. Write a check directly to the charity, not the fundraiser.

• Be wary of “new” charities with unverifiable background or contact information.

• Don’t be fooled by a name. Watch out for charities that use sympathetic-sounding names or names similar to well-known legitimate charities. Watch out for requests from fake “victims” or memorial social media accounts.


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