OLYMPIA -- Secretary of State Sam Reed is warning people to be wary of possible scams relating to the relief effort for the tsunami that struck the Pacific Rim on Friday following a massive earthquake in Japan.
"Going back to Hurricane Katrina and the 9/11 terrorist attacks, there have been many cases of charity scams in which con artists exploit by taking money meant for victims," a news release said.
Reed hasn't yet heard of any scams relating to the tsunami, but recommends asking questions and checking out people soliciting donations before taking out a checkbook or credit card.
State law requires that any charity soliciting money in Washington must register with Reed's office and disclose how much money raised went toward the actual charitable cause.
Questions to ask:
* Is the charity registered in Washington?
* What is the contact information of the organization asking for money?
* How will the money be used?
* What percentage of the money will be spent on the organization's purpose?
To check out a charity or fundraiser, call the state's toll-free charities hotline at 800-332-4483 or look online at sos.wa.gov/charities/search.aspx.