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GiveSmart for Hurricane Florence victims


September 19, 2018

The 2018 hurricane season has brought a devastating blow to residents of North and South Carolina with the arrival of Hurricane Florence. Washingtonians are already reaching out to help relief efforts for those whose homes and lives were affected by the storm, and Secretary of State Kim Wyman is urging everyone to be cautious of charity scams relating to hurricane assistance.

“When there is a natural disaster such as Hurricane Florence, scam artists unfortunately try to take advantage of people’s compassion,” Wyman said. “As in any time of need, generous Washingtonians are looking for ways they can help. We want to ensure their donations go to reputable organizations with a proven record of good service.”

The GiveSmart program, a cooperative effort between Washington’s Secretary of State and Attorney General, provides tools, information, and advice to help donors make informed charitable contributions to have the maximum possible benefit.

How to GiveSmart and Help Victims of Hurricane Florence

1. Do not give to a charity you know nothing about. Call the charity or search the name of the charity online with the word “complaints” or “scams.”

2. Check out the organization’s registration status with the Secretary of State at: or call 1-800-332-4483.

3. Be suspicious of solicitors requesting immediate donations. Don’t give in to high-pressure tactics. Be sure to take time to research the charity.

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

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

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

7. If you feel a charity or commercial fundraiser is operating in a deceptive or illegal manner, contact the Consumer and Business Fair Practice Division of the Washington State Attorney General's Office at 1-800-551-4636. You may visit the Attorney General's website and file a formal complaint online at

8. Additional tips and information for donors, including questions to ask solicitors, can be found at

Most charitable organizations that solicit contributions in Washington state must register with the Secretary of State’s Charities program. To determine if a charitable organization is properly registered, the public can access the online database to check a registration status at The website also provides a list of organizations that have been subject to corrective action taken by the Washington State Attorney General’s Office.


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