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Guest column: Beware of charity scams
by Larry Jacobs
Guest Columnist
May 31, 2013 09:56 AM | 1730 views | 0 0 comments | 94 94 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Officer Larry Jacobs
Officer Larry Jacobs
In times of man-made and natural disasters, charity scams and cons crop up. The Boston Marathon bombing and Oklahoma tornado are no exception.

The most common scams after a tragedy prey on public goodwill.  

Scammers set up fake charities and/or social media accounts to take advantage of the outpouring of generosity.  

According to the Better Business Bureau, dozens of URLs related to the Boston bombing relief have been registered and at least one fake Twitter account was shut down.  

These scammers will most likely try the same tricks in response to the Texas tragedy.

These charity scams and cons can take different forms. Scammers raise money in the name of doing good and then pocket their collections. Then you have phishing scams.  

The donors are drawn in by fake websites and/or social media.  

When they click on the link, they find themselves either at a fake donation form asking for personal information or a website that downloads malware to their computer.  

Finally, some owners of fake social media accounts are actually building up followers and “likes” in the hope of selling the account later.


1) Give thoughtfully. Check out the charity. The Better Business Bureau has a website that monitors national charities:

2) Check with the Georgia State Attorney’s Office. Charities are supposed to register with the state.

3) Ensure your charity respects the victims and families. These organizations are supposed to get permission from the families to use the names and photographs of the victims.

4) Learn how the money will be used.

5) Use caution with online/email appeals. Never click on charities that you are not familiar with.

This information was obtained from the Better Business Bureau.


Freebie: Aggressive drivers – Let them pass you. Don’t play games or instigate them. You don’t know their frame of mind. Call 911 if you feel you’re in danger. Drive to a location with lots of people (gas station, shopping areas or if you know the location of a police department). If you have to stop, don’t open your door or window and by all means, call 911. You should always do your best to know your location.

Good luck.

Officer Larry Jacobs is the Crime Prevention Officer for the Sandy Springs Police Department. He can be reached directly at

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