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Scammers Target People Giving to Sandy Hook Shooting Victims

December 18, 2012|By Mallory Peebles & Kuba Wuls | Channel 2 News

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — During times of tragedy the majority of people who respond do so to help, but there are those who try to profit from others misfortune. On Tuesday, December 18, the Better Business Bureau warned Alaskans to be aware of scammers trying to bank off the tragic shooting in Connecticut. 

According to the BBB, reports of fraudulent solicitations for money have already been reported in the Connecticut area and they want to prevent others who are trying to help from becoming a victim of fraud.

Anchorage Police said, as of Tuesday, they had not received any reports of fraudulent charities regarding the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting but said they have seen it before with other national tragedies and natural disasters. The BBB said that was why they are warning people,  before it’s too late.

“We're just trying to prevent anyone from being taken advantage of, you know, scammers prey on peoples compassion in the wake of tragedy like this," said Alaska public relations manager of the BBB Adam Harkness, "and they count on people to not take the time to really do some research and think through where there donation dollars are going.”

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The BBB said the way some of these scams are being done is via fraudulent Facebook accounts, where people solicit money on behalf of a victim’s family. Scams have also been done by email, text or phone calls.

“Literally within hours there were hundreds of memorial Facebook pages soliciting donations, send money to this P.O. box. Literally hundreds of them up and down the East coast," said Harkness.

The BBB recommends giving to a reputable name if you do choose to donate and to be extra cautious with those asking for cash.

At Anchorage radio station Movin’ 105.7 donations are being accepted but not in the form of money .

"This is not about raising money, it's really just sending a message and letting people know that everybody in every community cares about this and is affected by this," said radio show host Schatzie Schaefers.

Instead they are collecting stuffed animals, cards, letters and other expressions of caring. Donations can be dropped off to the radio station at 4700 Business Park Blvd., Building E, Suite 44.

If you do want to send money the United Way of Western Connecticut is a reputable source that is accepting financial donations.

The BBB  recommends if you are giving money to other sources be cautious and do some homework on the organization. This way you don't end up a victim of fraud for your act of kindness.

Contact Mallory Peebles

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