How to Avoid Las Vegas Shooting Scams

In the aftermath of terrible tragedies like the Las Vegas shooting, many members of the public understandably want to provide support — but, unfortunately, an number of scams have arisen to take advantage of that desire to help.

Before you donate to a fundraiser, charity or cause, make sure you know exactly where your money is going, and consider how you want your funds to be used.

Think before you donate

Any legitimate person or entity raising funds for a cause should be happy to answer questions from prospective donors. Don’t be afraid to ask for specific details.

Before you open your wallet for any organization representing itself as a charity, use a site like Charity Navigator or the Better Business Bureau to confirm that it really is a charity, and to learn more about its track record. Try running a search for the charity’s name and “controversy” to see if anything comes up.

If you have time, check out their annual report to learn more about what they do and where their money goes.

If an organization isn’t a charity, get as much information as possible about who is involved, their connection to events, and how they plan to distribute money. If they can’t answer these questions, it could be an indicator that they’re a scam, or highly disorganized.

Supporting survivors and direct family members

The plight of survivors and the family members of victims is often the top priority of people who want to donate after tragedies. Donating directly can enable those most affected by tragedy to effectively meet their needs, such as paying funeral expenses and health care bills or managing mortgage and rental payments.

It’s not uncommon for people to set up their own crowdfunding campaigns, but it can be challenging to vet the validity of such efforts: Was the organizer involved in the incident? If the organizer claims to be a friend, will the money really go where it’s supposed to?

In response to this concern, some organizations or communities establish victims’ funds, which pool and distribute money — like this official fund for Las Vegas victims. These collections can offer more assurance of accountability — but only when run well, as survivors and families involved in other mass shootings have warned.

In the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, for example, the funds donated “for survivors and families” ended up being distributed much more broadly, including to community organizations.

In some states, a framework exists for administering victims funds, but that’s not always the case — and not all donations end up with those funds. Survivors and families of shootings in Aurora, Colorado, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech and other tragedies proposed a National Compassion Fund that could act as a central clearinghouse and distribution point for donations – and they succeeded. Administered by the National Center for Victims of Crime, the group is currently collecting funds for Las Vegas survivors and the families of victims.

Supporting community organizations or more broadly affected groups

Sometimes, “victims’ funds” and community organizations don’t give all the donations they receive to those at the heart of the tragedy. They may designate funds to support first responders, employees at affected businesses and others with connections to the incident — some of whom may be dealing with trauma, loss of income, and other challenges. At other times, groups may route funding to community organizations or broad campaigns that focus on mental health services, children or gun violence.

If you want to exert control over which organizations receive your funding, consider giving directly and ensuring that you maximize the effect of your donations.

Photo credit: Governor Tom Wolf

26 comments

Lisa M
Lisa M4 months ago

Noted.

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Lisa M
Lisa M4 months ago

Noted.

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Winn A
Winn A4 months ago

Petition Signed

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One Heart inc
One Heart inc4 months ago

Thanks!!!!

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Margie F
Margie FOURIE4 months ago

Dig a hole in the ground and wait for anything. You will pass away when you will.

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Anne Moran
Anne M4 months ago

I don’t trust any of them...

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Marianne C
Marianne C4 months ago

This is good advice for the aftermath of any tragedy. There are always cons and scammers who are willing to try to lie and cheat their way into a profit from a tragedy, and Las Vegs will be no exception.

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Cruel Justice
Cruel J4 months ago

I only donate to REPUTABLE animal causes.

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Muff-Anne York-Haley
Muff-Anne Y4 months ago

Thanks!

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Elizabeth H
Elizabeth H4 months ago

When ever there's a tragedy scum will climb out of the gutter to rob from the unfortunate and the generous who donate.

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