December 20, 2012 | Vol. 116 -- No. 35

BBB cautions consumers to watch out for scammers in the wake of Newtown, Conn. school shootings

Do research before making donations to victims’ funds 

The Spokane Better Business Bureau is alerting consumers to reports of phony charity solicitations, supposedly on behalf of the families of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown on Friday, Dec. 14. 

BBB recommends donors avoid giving to charities or funds through unsolicited phone calls, emails, texts or social media appeals. 

Charity scammers strike after natural catastrophes such as hurricanes, floods and earthquakes, as well as tragedies such as the Colorado theater shootings and now the Newtown school massacre.

BBB urges donors to take several steps to protect themselves.

First, do your homework. Always research a charity at the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance website, www.give.org before donating money.

Also, select a charity yourself. Charity cheats will use every method at their disposal to reach out to generous Americans in times of tragedy. However, rather than replying to a charity appeal, BBB recommends choosing a well-known charity or one that has been endorsed by local or state authorities in the aftermath of a traged.

Finally contact charities directly. Never click on links to charities on unfamiliar websites or in texts or emails. These may take you to a look alike website where you will be asked to provide financial information, or download harmful malware into your computer.

Donors may contribute to a victims’ family fund through a collaborative effort between The United Way and Newtown Savings Bank. Donations may be sent to: Sandy Hook School Support Fund, c/o Newtown Savings Banks, 39 Main St.Newtown, CT 06470. 

If you are unsure if a solicitation for donations is legitimate or not, please contact your Better Business Bureau at 509-455-4200 or email info@spokane.bbb.org.

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