Fraudulent schemes follow Pulse tragedy
Just hours after the mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub on June 12, phony social media and crowd-funding accounts were created by heartless thieves trying to take advantage of generous donors wanting to help victims and their families, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office reports.
“Although one Twitter account and fraudulent website have already been suspended, it is very likely that scammers will continue these shams for some time to come,” the agency said in a scam alert issued for the public.
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office and the Better Business Bureau warn you to carefully consider these charity giving tips before choosing to give:
- Beware of unsolicited e-mails that appear to come from a known charitable organization with instructions to “click” on a link in order to donate. These links can infect your computer with malware, while attempting to steal your personal information.
- If the site doesn’t explain how they intend to use the funds being donated or say when they’ll be used, we suggest you stay away.
- Most states require charities to register with a state government agency before soliciting, so be sure you’re giving to a registered charity. Check out www.charitynavigator.og.
- Families may set up their own financial assistance accounts by using do-it-yourself fundraising websites. Visit the safety and security pages of these sites for information on how to safely and securely give.
- When donating, make sure the money is received and administered by a third party (like a bank, CPA or lawyer), as this will help ensure the funds are used appropriately.
- Do not give your credit card or bank account information over the phone to someone you don’t know. If you receive a call asking for a donation to help victims in this tragedy, ask the caller to send you information in the mail so you have to time to check out the organization.
- Beware of solicitors, websites, or social media sites requesting payment in Bitcoin, wire transfer, prepaid money cards, etc.
If you believe you have received a fraudulent request for a donation in the name of this horrific event and would like to report it, contact the fraud line at 258-3292.
You can also file a complaint with www.ic3.gov or www.ftc.gov .
Source: The Lee County Sheriff’s Office