Scammers are trying to profit from the Las Vegas mass shooting, attorney general says

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) - The Nevada Attorney General is warning Nevada residents to watch out for money scams following Sunday's attack on the Las Vegas Strip.

"There are many illegitimate GoFundMe accounts and sham charities unimaginably trying to profit from this horrific tragedy,” said Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt.

Laxalt says his office is working with GoFundMe to ensure donations are going to those who need it and not scammers. He offered the following tips to avoid illegitimate fundraisers:

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 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.

Anyone who spots a fraud charity can report it to the Nevada Attorney General's Officer here and the Federal Trade Commission here.

GoFundMe has also set up a direct to assist Las Vegas victims. You can view those fundraisers here.

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