Large Scale Tragedies Invite Charity Scams


When large scale tragic events occur, many scammers immediately jump in to take advantage of the situation and often cause more pain for those trying to help victims.

As scams continue to be discovered following the Boston Marathon bombing and the Texas explosion, the Better Business Bureau is warning donors to be extra diligent when giving.

Charity cons prey on the public's good will by setting up fake charities or social media accounts to take advantage of generous donors.

These charity scams may take different forms:

  • Someare outright fronts where scammers raise money in the name of doing good and pockettheir collection.
  • Othersare phishing scams. Donorsare drawn in by fake "donation form" asking for personal information or awebsite that downloads malware to their computer.
  • Someowners of fake social media accounts are actually just building up followers and"likes" in hopes of selling the account later.

Another scam that promptly shows up following a major news event is videos or photos that link to a phishing website or download malware onto the computer. Be diligent in analyzing the source of these videos and photos and only click on them if they come from a trusted source.

The BBB offers these tips for donating to a relief effort:

  • Give thoughtfully. Take time to check out a charity by finding evaluations at
  • Ensure the charity you choose respects victims and their families. Ask if they were given permission to use names and photos of victims.
  • Learn how your donation will be used.
  • Be cautious when receiving online/email appeals. Never click on a link to charities on unfamiliar websites, texts or emails.
  • Only use social media as a starting point. Look into prospective charities yourself.

The BBB can also be reached at 402-436-2345 or 800-649-6814 for national charity reviews for those without access to a computer. Go to for more information.