BBB Issues Scam Warning

Wednesday, April 25th 2007, 4:00 pm
By: News On 6

Scam artists are using the Virginia Tech tragedy to rip off unsuspecting victims. The Better Business Bureau says if you want to make a donation to honor Virginia Tech victims you should do a lot of research first, and watch out. News On 6 anchor Craig Day reports it's common for con artists to use scams tied to tragedies.

Shortly after the Virginia Tech tragedy scams starting making the rounds. The Better Business Bureau of Tulsa doesn't know of any victims yet in town, but they say people should be on guard.

"Whatever tragedy is in the news, they will use it in the next days or weeks for people to take advantage of people," said Rick Brinkley with the Tulsa Better Business Bureau. "More than likely that money is going to go to line someone else's pocket."

Rick Brinkley with the Better Business Bureau says people need to do research to make sure you know where donations are going. He says most scam artists will send an unsolicited email with a link to a website that looks like a legitimate charity. Often that website asks for either a checking account or credit card number. If an unsuspecting victim gives one of those numbers, then they're in trouble. Experts say never give cash to anyone and be careful of people who contact you by telephone. Brinkley says you should also watch out for pleas that are heavy on emotion and light on details.

"The really sad part about these kinds of scams is that people give, get taken advantage of, and walk away with a smile on their face because they think they've done something good for somebody else, and don't even realize they've lined some scam artist's pocket," Brinkley said.

To prevent that from happening, the BBB recommends going directly to Virginia Tech. The University has an online list of legitimate funds that people can donate to.

Brinkley says it’s good to give, but it’s better to give wisely where your dollars do the most good.

If you’d like to donate to Virginia Tech’s you can do so through the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund. To research other reputable charities you can visit the
Better Business Bureau website.

Watch the video: Scam Artists Taking Advantage Of Virginia Tech Tragedy

Related story:

4/20/2007 - BBB Issues Warning Against Virginia Tech Scams