Authorities say scammers are looking to cash in on Tree of Life tragedy

November 23, 2018

Scammers are fraudulently soliciting money that they say will support victims of Saturday’s Tree of Life synagogue massacre in Squirrel Hill, the FBI said Wednesday.

“FBI Pittsburgh wants criminals who plan to exploit people’s pockets and generosity to know it won’t be tolerated,” said Robert Jones, special agent in charge of the local office.

The FBI said bogus solicitations can come through emails, websites, door-to-door collections, mailings, telephone calls or text messages.

Pittsburgh Public Safety said police have received reports about people being approached in person, by phone and via email and social media to donate money to support victims and injured officers. Some of the would-be scammers have sought personal credit card information.

People shouldn’t respond to unsolicited emails seeking donations or click on links in such emails because they might contain computer viruses, the FBI said. Instead of clicking on a link to donate, people should search online for an organization’s website to independently verify they are legitimate.

It’s also best to donate to known organizations and avoid giving cash. People shouldn’t be pressured into making a donation, and they should never give out their personal or financial information to anyone soliciting a donation, the FBI said.

Suspicious solicitations can be reported online to the FBI at www.ic3.gov.

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