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Crowdfunding: Fundraising concerns arise following Pearsall fire
Preying upon the goodwill and generosity of people, local scammers are capitalizing on recent tragedies to collect money for the victims without their permission.
Earlier this month, long-time Pearsall resident Jimmy Montemayor lost his home in an early morning blaze. Within the week, Montemayor fell victim to fundraising fraud.
As society continues to rely on technology, new reports show scammers are often using various social media platforms as a way to collect money during a time of need.
“I would like to tell people to avoid any social media request to help,” the man said in a public letter last week. “I have not asked anyone to seek such assistance.”
Montemayor is not alone in his quest to warn the public about scam and fraud, Frio County Chief Deputy Peter Salinas reports social media scamming has become a trend.
The trend, commonly known as crowdfunding, provides instant gratification for donors; however, donors should take steps to verify if it is a legitimate request by the victim. The chief deputy recommends confirming the person is actually requesting donations by speaking directly with someone in close contact with the individual.
Salinas said that scammers are trying to capitalize on situations by pulling at the heartstrings of residents in the local tight-knit community.
“While we would love to rush to help a friend or loved-one in their time of need, there are many people who would seek to benefit from others’ tragedies by committing fraud,” Salinas said. “Anyone wishing to donate should be wary and take a minute to review where and to whom your donation is actually going.”
Making false statements, such as attempting to profit from fundraising schemes, is an offense that can carry a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and fine up to $250,000.