EL PASO, TX — The FBI’s El Paso division warned on Tuesday that family members of shooting victims should be aware of people calling them and claiming to be from the funeral homes or medical examiner’s office and asking for money in exchange for arranging services.
The FBI said said that such a call is likely a scam. Also on Tuesday, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, said people should be careful in handling emails related to the shootings even if they appear to come from trusted sources.
“Fraudulent emails often contain links or attachments that direct users to phishing or malware-infected websites,” the agency said in a release. “Emails requesting donations from duplicitous charitable organizations are also common after tragic events.”
The agency said people should be wary of fake social media pleas, calls, texts, donations and door-to-door solicitations relating to the events. The Federal Trade Commission has guidance on what to do before donating to a charity.
For those who want to donate to the victims of the El Paso shooting, an official relief fund has been established by the Paso del Norte Community Foundation.
A second fund accepting online donations has been set up by the El Paso Community Foundation.
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GoFundMe also has a centralized hub with links to verified fundraising pages set up in the wake of the shooting. Several pages on GoFundMe are raising money for the families of the slain victims and to help pay the medical bills for the injured.
The page is being updated as campaigns are verified. The company says it has a dedicated trust and safety team reviewing all campaigns related to the shooting. The campaigns are backed by a guarantee, which ensures that all donations go to the right place.
The shooting in El Paso on Saturday left 22 people dead, including seven Mexican nationals and one German citizen. The shooting happened around 10:40 a.m. at a Walmart packed with back-to-school shoppers. The accused shooter was reportedly fueled by anti-immigrant hatred and told investigators he wanted to shoot as many Mexicans as possible, according to an ABC News report. A manifesto posted online shortly before the shooting included anti-immigrant sentiments and referenced the mass slaughter in New Zealand. Authorities are investigating whether the manifesto was posted by the accused shooter, according to The New York Times.