News 4 On Your Side: Scams May Surface After Tragedy

Reported by: Samantha Boatman
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Updated: 10/22/2013 4:52 pm
RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com)--News 4 On Your Side Reporter Samantha Boatman talked to the local Better Business Bureau President who warns-scammers use tragedies like the one at Sparks Middle School to take advantage of those wanting to help.

Several memorial pages have surfaced on Facebook, and while we're not saying they are scams, experts say it's important to know where you are donating your money.

In a press conference today, Chris Askin with the Community Foundation of Northern Nevada, says a fund has been set-up to help those affected by this tragedy.  It's called the "SMS Compassion Fund." 100 percent of the money raised will go to the victim's families. For more information on that fund, you can call 775-333-5499, or visit www.nevadafund.org.

Tim Johnston with the Better Business Bureau says the sad reality of tragedies like the one in Sparks is that scammers are just waiting to take advantage of those wanting to help.

He has this advice when giving money to any organization or fund:

-Ask questions to be sure you are comfortable with how your gift will be used. See how the donations will be used by the family.

-An organization should be up-front and clear on the fund's purpose; how is the money going to be used?

-Never click on links to charities on unfamiliar websites or in text and e-mails. These may take you to a lookalike website where you will be asked to provide personal information or to click on something that may download a virus onto your computer. Don't assume that charity recommendations on Facebook, blogs or other social media have already been vetted.

-Some families may decide to set-up their own assistance funds. Be mindful that these funds may not be set-up as charities. Also, make sure that collected monies are received and administered by a third part such as a bank, CPA or lawyer.

-You can check out a charity's credibility at www.bbb.org
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