Scammers Are Using Vegas Mass Murders to Prey on Good Samaritans

LAS VEGAS (CN) — As if the murders of 58 people in Las Vegas were not enough, scammers are soliciting online donations for bogus charities and phony victims, the Nevada attorney general said.

Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt’s office shut down a sham Facebook page last week, with assistance from the company, and is working with GoFundMe to investigate reports of fraudulent donation sites, Laxalt said in a statement Monday.

“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.”

Laxalt’s office suggested people take steps to protect themselves.

“Avoid any charity that asks for donations in cash or via wire transfer.

“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.”

Do not make out checks to individuals.

Do not provide credit card, bank account numbers or Social Security numbers online or over the phone.

Be cautious of unsolicited emails, and do not open attachments to them, which may contain viruses or malware to steal personal information from your computer.

Finally, “Be wary of sound-alike names.  Many sham charities intentionally use names that are easily confused with legitimate, respected charities.”

If you suspect you have been victimized, complaints can be registered at the attorney general’s website. The Federal Trade Commission hosts a similar complaints website.

Such scams are common after tragedies and disasters. After hurricanes, crooks often show up with phony credentials, claiming to be from federal or state agencies, or licensed contractors, asking for advance fees for home repairs, or to “register” for phony relief programs.

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