|(Boise) – Attorney General Lawrence Wasden is warning Idahoans about scam fundraisers related to the recent shooting at Rigby Middle School. Victims and their families also should be cautious if they receive legal representation solicitations about filing lawsuits or joining potential class actions.|
Idaho’s charity laws prohibit misleading charitable solicitations and authorize the Office of the Attorney General to investigate and bring legal actions against organizations or people who misrepresent the purpose of charitable donations or who misuse charitable assets. Consumer protection laws help protect Idahoans from deceptive advertising of goods and services, including legal assistance.
“Unfortunately, some people take advantage of tragedies to exploit victims’ pain and capitalize on the public’s generosity,” Wasden said. “I encourage individuals to file a complaint with my office if they become aware of suspicious fundraising attempts or misleading legal solicitations.”
Donors who have lost money or who want to report a scam charity, solicitation, or legal representation advertisement may file a complaint through the Attorney General’s website at www.ag.idaho.gov, or by calling the office’s Consumer Protection Division at 208-334-2424 or 1-800-432-3545 (toll free in Idaho).
Shootings nationwide have prompted scores of lawsuits, including class actions. Within days of these tragedies, victims or their families may be pressured into signing representation contracts.
Attorney solicitations are governed under the Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers, which recognize that targeted in-person, telephone, or real-time electronic communications of potential clients can be abusive. Lawyers may not solicit professional employment through such methods unless the person contacted is a lawyer or has a family, friend, or prior professional relationship with the soliciting lawyer.
Written communications soliciting professional employment must be marked as “Advertising Material.” Advertising that misrepresents the sender’s qualifications, the purpose of the ad, or the status or effect of a legal action violates the Idaho Consumer Protection Act and should be reported to the Attorney General.