Hoaxes, scams abound after disasters like Boston

NEW YORK (AP) — The aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings has many people eager to help the tragedy’s victims. A group that monitors scams after disasters says thieves are also quick to get to work, setting up pleas for money — using social media, phone calls and texts.

Like numerous disasters before, hoaxes and conspiracies have popped up in the chaotic first days after the tragedy.

In one case, a bogus photo circulated on social media showing a young girl running, with some versions saying she had died while running the marathon for Sandy Hook shooting victims. A Virginia charity linked to the picture says it’s not clear whether donations were solicited using the photo but even so, the charity’s website quickly crashed under the weight of more than 1 million views.

For those looking to help, Ken Berger with the group CharityNavigator.org suggests giving to an established charity and avoiding telemarketers. He also suggests thinking before you text, saying it can be a good way to give so long as you thoroughly vet the request for money.

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