Monday, December 17, 2012

On Cue, Here Come the Sandy Hook Massacre Scam Artists

All of us want to show our support for the people of Newtown, Connecticut, who lost so much and are suffering so terribly in the wake of Friday's Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Well, most of us anyway. You might have noticed on Facebook and Twitter and other social media invites to "like" or otherwise acknowledge or donate money to memorial pages and memes for the shooting victims.

It's easy and natural to respond to the invites. We want to do something to help. But according to, most of those invites are scams.

The ones that ask for money are often run by people who will just pocket the money.

The memorial sites that just want you to "like" or support turn out to be dangerous, too. They seem safe. A friend you know on Facebook has liked the page, and invites you to like it, too. Since your friend is trustworthy, you like the page, too, to show support for both your friend and the Newtown victims.

What you and your friend don't know is this process means the memorial pages and memes get a lot of traffic and likes and whatnot. That, in turn, means these pages become financially valuable. The operators of these pages later sell the site on an online market, and somebody makes a lot of money of your good will.

Plus, these pages and such get converted to some sort of lousy product advertisement, and then a few months down the road you and friends get spammed.

Charming, no?

Obviously, the people who do these sorts of scams deserve a really horrible place in hell. Really, using the nation's grief to make a buck. I don't know what the criminal penalties are for all this, but I hope it's extreme.

So, go ahead and donate money through a known, reputable organization that you've researched. Show your support for the people of Newtown.
But ignore those prepackaged Facebook memorials that are popping up in your feed over and over again. Most communities hit by tragedy post information about reputable organizations on their Web sites, so check that out, according to Technorati.

I noticed the Town of Newtown, Connecticut has information on their Web page on how to donate, how to help.

That's the best way to ensure your support is really felt. They sure need it.

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