SCAM ALERT: Outpouring of wildfire relief sparks wave of fraudsters

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SEATTLE -- State officials warn of bogus relief efforts and encourage wise giving as many look for ways to help give to the families in need because of the firefighters.

Often times during a natural disaster, con-artists setup fake official-sounding charities pretending to help raise money for the victims of the disaster.

Watch out for charities that demand donations using threats, aggressive tactics or deadlines; only accept cash donations or checks made out to them personally; can’t explain what kind of relief will be offered; how it will be distributed; who it will benefit; when it will be allocated and what percentage of the donation benefits the causes.

Be wary of cybercriminals who have untrustworthy websites. Do not click on unsolicited emails, instant messages and social media posts from unknown senders. And remember, scammers can download malware to steal your personal info.

Better Business Bureau and the Washington Attorney General advise consumers to research a charity before donating money.

Lookup charity information on the Washington Secretary State “Information for Donors” page or call 1-800-332-4483. Consumers can also search for information on BBB.org or Give.org, a website run by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.