Washington, DC –  The FBI and other federal agencies are warning people to be wary of scammers looking to take advantage of people’s generosity in the wake of recent shootings in El Paso and Dayton. 

The FBI’s El Paso office warned of scammers actually targeting victims by claiming to be from the funeral home or Medical Examiner’s Office and asking them for money in exchange for arranging services for their loved ones. 

More often, these scammers target people with no direct connection to a tragedy who just want to help out.

Anytime there’s a tragedy of any kind, phone and online scammers swing into action soliciting donations hoping to pull one over on kindhearted people.

The Federal Trade Commission has some pointers for avoiding charity scams:

  • Donate to charities you know and trust with a proven track record. Check out the charity with the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or GuideStar.
  • Be alert for charities that seem to have sprung up overnight in connection with current events. Check them out before you send money.
  • Search the charity’s name online. Do people say it’s a scam?
  • Don’t assume that pleas for help posted on crowdfunding sites or social media are legitimate. Real victims’ pictures and stories can be misused to con you.
  • Don’t click on links or open attachments in emails. You could unknowingly install malware on your computer or be taken to a look-alike website for a fake charity. Look up the charity’s web address and type it in yourself.
  • When texting to donate, confirm the number on the charity’s website.
  • Designate the event or cause you want your funds to be used for, unless you are okay with the money being used in other ways.