ALBERTA

Boston Charity Scams Rampant On Twitter And Facebook: Alberta Better Business Bureau

04/18/2013 02:58 EDT | Updated 04/18/2013 05:47 EDT

Albertans should be on high alert to scams seeking to take advantage following the deadly Boston Marathon bombings, warns the Better Business Bureau (BBB.)

Facebook and Twitter scams are most prevalent, with accounts popping and promising to donate $1 for every like or retweet.

Okotoks Online reports that the BBB of Southern Alberta and the East Kootenays have already shut down one Facebook page soliciting "likes for donations" and they're investigating many more.

"It's not something that's new unfortunately. People have always taken advantage of good people who are trying to help out in tragic situations," Sandra Crozier-McKee, president and CEO of the Alberta chapter, told Okotoks Online.

Crozier-McKee told the Calgary Herald there are ways to check whether an organization is legitimate or not.

Donors can use the Canada Revenue Agency website to verify if the charity is registered with the government, as well as visiting the BBB website to check lists of credited agencies. Additionally, donors should find out how their donated money will be used.

“You should have a process of making sure that there’s accountability, how you’re going to collect funds, receive funds, and account for the funds you have,” Crozier-McKee told the Herald.

The warning extends beyond Alberta, across Canada and into the U.S. According to TheDomains, a website dedicated to domain name discussion, there are at least 125 domain names that have been recently registered relating to the explosions at the Boston Marathon.

“Just minutes after the reports of the explosions hit the news, domain names related to the bombings were already registered and some parked by people looking to make money off the tragedy,” Michael Berkens wrote on TheDomains.

“While we don’t know every registrants intention, we do know historically that many of the domain names registered immediately after were done to get traffic and make money parking domains or worse.”

“Tragedies inspire people to give,” H. Art Taylor, president and CEO of Better Business Bureaus Wise Giving Alliance, said in a press release, “but, tragedies –- whether natural disasters or manmade catastrophes –- also inspire scammers to take advantage of that generosity. Social media, in particular, makes it very easy to reach a lot of people quickly, when emotions are running high and people feel the need to take action, any action, to help.”

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