OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington State Patrol (WSP) has received reports from a number of citizens who received calls soliciting donations to support “AMBER Alerts.” In part of the solicitation, the callers report the money being raised goes to support the AMBER Alert program, including that 30% of the funds are for overhead costs associated with the program. At least one solicitation indicated they were calling on behalf of WSP. This information is inaccurate; WSP does not rely on public donations for the administration of the AMBER Alert system.
These calls appear to be a scam. WSP oversees the AMBER Alert system in Washington State. Most local agencies across the state have their own approved plans, which are implemented when a child is abducted or goes missing under suspicious circumstances. Neither WSP, local agencies, nor anyone on our behalf is soliciting funds to support the AMBER Alert system in Washington State. The origin of these calls is unknown and WSP currently lacks sufficient information to begin an investigation.
WSP has confirmed the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and amberalert.com are not doing any fundraising or telephone solicitations.
Before donating to a charity, it’s important to research the charity before you make a contribution. The Washington state Secretary of State’s website provides some excellent resources to help the public identify legitimate charities. The bottom line, ask questions before you make a contribution.
The link to the Secretary of State’s website is http://www.sos.wa.gov/charities/consumer_faq.aspx
Information on Washington State AMBER Alert Plan can be found at http://www.wsp.wa.gov/crime/amber.htm