AG targets sham sites seeking donations for Las Vegas shooting v - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

AG targets sham sites seeking donations for Las Vegas shooting victims

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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

In the days following the Route 91 Harvest Festival mass shooting that killed 58 innocent people and injured hundreds more, sham donation websites seeking to take advantage of the community's supportive spirit began popping up all over the web. 

Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt and his staff hope to put a stop to the fraudulent donation sites by investigating reports of suspicious sham charities that claim to be collecting donations on behalf of the victims, according to a release from Laxalt's office.

The AG's office is working closely with GoFundMe and Facebook to ensure the removal of the deceiving charities. The release said the AG's office successfully shut down a sham Facebook page with the assistance of the social media site company. 

"There continue to be sham charities and websites seeking to profit from this horrific tragedy," Laxalt said. "Complaints from local consumers continue to be the best source of information for our Bureau of Consumer Protection in investigating claims of misrepresentation." 

AG Laxalt and his staff will continue to investigate claims against other false charities, the release said. 

Anyone who wishes to help the victims of 1 October can donate directly to the 'Las Vegas Victims Fund,' a GoFundMe account created by Clark County Commissioner Chair Steve Sisolak. 

Avoid donating to sham websites and charities by adhering to the following suggestions released by AG Laxalt's office:

  • Avoid any charity or fundraiser that asks for donations in cash or via wire transfer. Those that are unable to provide detailed information about their mission or organization and how donations will be used are suspect. 
  • Ask for detailed information about the charity, including name, address and telephone number. Then, conduct some online searches of the charity's name in combination with the words "complaint" or "scam" to learn about its reputation.  Using online resources offered by the Better Business Bureau can also provide assurances about the trustworthiness of any particular charity.
  • Review the charity's financial information or its Form 990. For information on the Form 990, visit the Nevada Secretary of State website. If a charity claims to use your donations to help the local community, contact the local agency and confirm whether the agency is familiar with the charity and receives financial support from it.
  • Do not feel pressured into making an immediate donation by telephone or in person. The need for donations and the opportunity to give will be present for some time, and legitimate charities will not pressure you into making an immediate donation.
  • Avoiding making checks payable to individuals. Also, avoid providing credit card, bank account or social security number information over the phone.
  • When texting to donate, confirm the number with the source before you donate. The charge will show up on your mobile phone bill, but donations charges are not immediate.
  • Be cautious of unsolicited charitable e-mails and attachments. An unsolicited e-mail is likely part of a scam, and any attachments may have a virus designed to steal financial or other personal information from your computer.
  • Social media sites can also perpetuate scams. As with any other charity, take time to investigate the people behind any social media campaigns to ensure they represent a legitimate organization. Some sites, such as GoFundMe, take affirmative steps to ensure fundraising campaigns are vetted, donations are verified and complaints can be made to protect donors.
  • Be wary of sound-alike names.  Many sham charities intentionally use names that are easily confused with legitimate, respected charities.

Nevada consumers can file complaints regarding fraudulent charities with the Nevada Attorney General's office.  Consumers may also file complaints with the Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Family Assistance Center located at 3150 Paradise Road, Las Vegas, Nevada, inside the Las Vegas Convention Center.

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