The mass shooting in Orlando will bring out some generous people who want to help the victims and their families, but it is also an opportunity for scammers.
Anyone looking to make a donation should probably do so soon, as experts said the longer you wait the more time scammers have a chance to make fake accounts.
“Often times, tragedies will open up an opportunity for scammers,” said Lora Rae Anderson of the Department of Consumer Protection.
On Sunday, 49 people were killed and countless others were injured in a senseless shooting at a gay night club.
Tragedies like this offer up opportunities to raise money to help the victims and families.
Anderson said bigger companies with positive reputations are less likely to be part of a scam, and she suggests asking questions and do research if you come across a website you aren’t too sure about.
“Taking a look at the organization that put up a GoFundMe page. Take a look at their website. Even shooting them a quick email and say, ‘just curious where the money is going and when you’re donating it somewhere’,” Anderson said.
If they don’t get back to you, that should be a red flag.
“Folks who are asking for money in good faith and have good hearts in the right place will get you those answers. It's something that should take a few minutes. A half hour,” Anderson said.
After the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a New York woman was sentenced to eight months in prison after posing as the aunt of a child killed and raised money for a fake funeral.
The mother of Ana Marquez-Greene, one of the young victims killed in the shooting, took to Facebook saying in part “Dear friends with generous hearts- please WAIT to donate until you know for sure that your hard earned dollars will be received by VICTIMS... and not by individuals, groups and organizations designed to benefit from tragedies. Millions were poured into Sandy Hook. Very little actually reached us. And victims of gun violence will have a lifetime of need. Before you give- ask where your dollars will go.”
“Right now, when there is a spotlight on something, it's necessarily when scammers are going to pop up right away but I wouldn't be surprised if they popped up in a couple weeks or a month and tried to mimic some of the good work that other reputable organizations are doing,” Anderson said.
If you think you have run into what you think is a scam, you can file a complaint with the Department of Consumer Protection by clicking here.
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