Donors warned to be cautious of scams after mass shootings

Donors warned to be cautious of scams after mass shootings
Charity watchdogs urge people to protect themselves from possible scams when they seek to donate after tragedies like the Uvalde school shooting.

With the Texas attorney general and state lawmakers warning about fraudulent fundraising in the wake of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and two teachers dead, charity watchdogs are urging people to protect themselves from possible scams when seeking to donate to victims.

Texas State Sen. Roland Gutierrez said Tuesday on MSNBC that “it’s unfortunate, but there is a lot of fraud on the money that’s being raised for some of these folks in their children’s name.”

Gutierrez said he has reached out to the state attorney general’s office to look into such fraud.

“We just have to make sure that these families are being cared for, that they are getting the resources that they need, and that nobody is trying to defraud them,” he said.

Laurie Styron, the executive director of CharityWatch, said for people seeking to donate funds after a tragedy, “it’s really important to not just react to a fundraising pitch online” or just any crowdfunding campaign.

Instead, people should seek out specific organizations with expertise in relevant causes or related charity efforts or, if donating through a crowdfunding campaign, donors should be “absolutely certain that you’re on the official page of the family.”

“It’s very difficult to get your money back if you give it to a scammer,” she said. “And there’s just no way for regulators or watchdogs like us to keep up with the amount of fraud and scam attempts that are out there.”

Styron cautioned that just because something is online doesn’t mean it is legitimate.

“There are fake crowdfunding campaigns that pop up all the time. And there’s a lot of copycat crowdfunding campaigns that pop up all the time because people swoop in immediately after a tragedy and try to cash in and then they’re gone as quickly as they arrived,” she said.

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