FTC Warns Against Scammers Trying To Cash In On Aurora Theater Shooting

It’s been a week since a dozen people were killed and 58 others were injured at a late-night showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Co., and folks from around the world have been looking to donate money to help those affected by the tragedy. But before you hand over any cash, be sure it’s a legitimate charity.

The Federal Trade Commission is warning consumers to be careful and not donate money to bogus charities or groups that are not honest about where donated funds go.

“It’s wise to be wary of charities that spring up overnight in connection with current events, like the theater shooting,” writes the FTC. “Urgent appeals for aid that you get in person, by phone or mail, by e-mail, on websites, or on social networking sites may not be on the up-and-up.”

Thus, the FTC has the following Charity Checklist that guides consumers through the questions they need to ask when considering a donation to any group:

1. Ask for the name of the charity if the telemarketer does not provide it promptly;
2. Ask what percentage of your donation will support the cause described in the solicitation;
3. Verify that the charity has authorized the solicitation;
4. Do not provide any credit card or bank information until you have reviewed all information from the charity and made the decision to donate;
5. Ask for a receipt showing the amount of the contribution and stating that it is tax deductible; and
6. Avoid cash gifts. For security and tax record purposes, it’s best to pay by check – made payable to the beneficiary, not the solicitor.

The agency has more information at ftc.gov/charityfraud.

For those looking for a legitimate charity, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and the Community First Foundation have set up the Aurora Victim Relief Fund to meet immediate and long-term needs of victims and their families. GivingFirst.org provides details on this and other bona fide, related charities.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Mr. Fix-It is trapped in a collection of half-working appliances says:

    I know fraud is fraud but uh… is there like, a special law on the books for charity fraud in particular? Seems like an especially despicable thing to do.

  2. Aliciaz777 says:

    It’s utterly sick and downright cruel to try and make money off of this tragedy, or any tragedy. The types of people that do this crap are freaking sociopaths.

  3. Uncle Don says:

    Really, who sends money to all these scam artists? Haven’t they been told 1,000 times all of the above? Folks, pick a charity, check it out extensively and give to it and only it. Otherwise you’re just giving your money away and you might as well send it to me so I can buy cold beers and pizza for all the good it does. QUIT BEING STUPID!!!

  4. Broke_Daddy says:

    There is a real charity offering. Hans Zimmer who wrote the music for The Dark Knight Rises has written a piece called, “Aurora.” It’s selling on iTunes for $1.29 and is just over 8.5 minutes long if I remember correctly. 100% of the money goes to Aurora victims.