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School Shooting Scam on Facebook Prompts Charity Warning

An alleged school shooting scam artist has been arrested for trying to profit off the Sandy Hook massacre via a Facebook page.

Nouel Alba, 37, of New York City, is accused of posing as a relative of school shooting victim Noah Pozner so that she could collect money from well-wishers, reports CNN.

Alba allegedly used her Facebook account to solicit money from those wanting to donate to the victim's family. Alba apparently claimed that the money she received was to be used for a "funeral fund." Unwitting donors then transmitted money via PayPal to Alba, investigators say.

In the wake of tragedies like the Connecticut school shootings, you may want to help out and contribute what you can. But as we too often see, many con artists take advantage of these tragedies to line their own pockets. We've seen this following hurricanes, floods, and mass shootings.

If you want to help out, you should be aware of some signs of a potential scam:

  • Unsolicited calls or emails. Relief and aid organizations typically won't make unsolicited calls or send out mass emails asking for money, the Associated Press reports.

  • Callers who don't answer questions about their organization. If you do receive a call, you should be especially wary of people who don't really know what their organization does or how the money will be spent. Also be skeptical about callers who won't tell you their names.

  • People who won't take "no" for an answer. Used-car sales tactics like not taking "no" for an answer, high-pressure sales, and intimidation are usually signs of a scam.
It's natural to want to help out after a tragedy like the Connecticut school shooting. Just make sure you ask plenty of questions and vet the organization requesting aid before you open up your checkbook. If you believe you've fallen victim to a scam, you may want to contact a consumer protection attorney.

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