Officials warn of Boston bombing charity scams

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OLYMPIA — Authorities are urging people to beware of fake fundraisers from people seeking to exploit others in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Secretary of State Kim Wyman said people need to exercise caution when asked to donate to help victims of the violence.

Ferguson said that while many legitimate charities will solicit aid, “we also know that some unscrupulous rip-off artists will also try to cash in.”

In a release, Ferguson and Wyman said people should only give to charities they personally know and trust or check on the organization before contributing.

Other tips are:

• Be suspicious of immediate donation requests. Scammers know people are feeling an urgent need to help and they will capitalize on it.

• Remember it is not necessary to donate immediately. Take your time and donate to a legitimate organization that is offering assistance to victims.

• 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 fundraisers come to your door, always ask for identification. Alternatively, you can take the fundraiser’s information and mail your check directly to the charity.

• Don’t be fooled by a name. Some phone charities, including for-profit companies, have sympathetic sounding names or names that closely resemble those of respected, legitimate charities.

For more details, visit sos.wa.gov/charities/search.aspx.

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