On June 7th I told you about the indictment of Nouel Alba for fraudulently representing that she was the aunt of Noah Pozner, a six year old child who was one of the students killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. Alba used Facebook, telephone calls and text messages in which she claimed that she was the aunt of Noah Pozner and needed funds for his burial to scam people out of thousands of dollars. Now, rather than face a trial, Alba has pleaded guilty and will be sentenced on August 29th. She faces a maximum sentence of twenty years although she is not expected to receive that stiff a sentence.
The lesson remains the same. As much as we want to help the victims of disasters that may either be man made such as the shootings in Newtown or natural, such as the tornadoes in Oklahoma, we must always be skeptical of any solicitations to contribute to charities for the victims. Fortunately, with a little due diligence, you can find a legitimate charity that will provide help to those people who really need it. First, check out the charity with http://www.charitynavigator.org which is a free service that will provide you with the truth as to whether a charity is legitimate or a scam. Second, make sure that when you do give to a legitimate charity, that you are actually giving to the real charity rather than one that may have a name that is deceptively similar to the real charity. Finally, when actually making your contribution, do it directly to the charity on its website or through snail mail making sure that the address is correct.