In the days and hours since the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, many of us have been asking ourselves: "How can I help?" Sadly, there are people counting on it. Sick, depraved people who have created donation scams in the names of kids like little Noah Pozner, the 6-year-old laid to rest on Monday in Newtown, Connecticut.
It's a black mark on society that there are those among us who would look to benefit off of a tragedy. But even more unsettling than the thought of someone taking advantage of our good hearts is this: what does this do to the families of the victims?
These people are already suffering. And in the midst of their grief, they have been forced to set aside the important matters like planning funerals and holding their loved ones close to fight to get these scammers off the web.
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Noah Pozner's family had to take time to call the FBI to report one fraud site. Then they had to buy up all the domain names related to their son, in a move to head off any other scammers.
Is this what these people should really have to be doing right now? I think you know the answer to that. These scammers are essentially re-victimizing the victims.
It isn't just the scams associated with the names of the kids. The criminal element trying to cash in has become such a problem that the Better Business Bureau has come out with warnings there are other scammers out there making vague promises to help the victims with little information about where the money will actually go. They've got a list of 10 tips to follow before you donate, from checking to see whether the charity is registered to ensuring the charity is respectful of the families.
Because the families of the lives lost are all we really need to care about right now. It's sad that there are some who don't think like that.
Want to help? Here are some verified options for helping the Newtown families, including the charity set up by the families of the surviving kids, a Noah Pozner charity approved by his family, and a charity approved by the Newtown Board of Education.
What do you make of the scammers cashing in on the Newtown tragedy? Is it something you expected?
Image via jollyUK/Flickr