As word spilled out about the heartbreaking loss of life resulting from the school shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn., Acadiana residents sought to open their hearts and pocketbooks to help those most affected by the tragedy.
But phony charities have also sought to cash in on this horrible situation.
Phony charity solicitations, supposedly on behalf of families of the victims in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, are being reported to the Better Business Bureau.
Scammers often use catastrophes such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and atrocities to prey on the goodwill of citizens with good intentions.
The BBB of Acadiana offers the following the tips to ensure that any donations to the Newton, Conn. families actually go to the intended cause:
• Always research a charity at the Better Business Bureau ’s Wise Giving Alliance website, www.give.org, before donating money.
• Rather than replying to a charity appeal, choose a well-known charity or one that has been endorsed by local or state authorities in the aftermath of a tragedy.
• Contact charities directly. Never click on links to charities on unfamiliar websites or in texts, emails or social media posts. They may take you to look-alike websites where you will be asked to provide financial information and may also download harmful malware into your computer.
• Make sure the charity has a presence on the ground in the affected area.
• Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups. Some charities may be raising money to pass along to relief organizations. If so, consider “avoiding the middleman” and give directly to those with a presence in the region
The BBB, along with the United Way of Western Connecticut, has partnered with Newtown Savings Bank to create the Sandy Hook School Support Fund to provide support services to the families and community that have been affected.
Donations may be made online at https://newtown.uwwesternct.org or sent to:
Sandy Hook School Support Fund c/o Newtown Savings Bank
39 Main Street
Newtown, Conn., 06470
The BBB of Acadiana works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses. Please contact the BBB at www.acadiana.bbb.org or (337) 981-3497 24 hours a day for information on businesses throughout North America.
The BBB of Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.
Acadiana residents can now have BBB information in the palm of their hand with the official BBB Search app, a convenient, mobile BBB solution available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The app can be found at: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bbb-search-find-local-businesses/id440014505?mt=8.