In Aftermath of Recent Mass Shootings, Attorney General Bonta Urges Vigilance Against Fraudulent Crowdfunding and Reminds Californians of Available Support Services

Tuesday, January 24, 2023
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

In-person assistance for people in Southern California is available through the City of Monterey Park and Los Angeles County 

OAKLAND – As people in California and across the country mourn the recent horrific mass shootings in the state, California Attorney General Rob Bonta today highlighted support services and urged vigilance against fraudulent crowdfunding. Across California, there are a variety of state, local, and community entities that may be able to provide assistance and support — including immediate housing, financial, funeral, and mental health resources — to crime victims, survivors, and their families. However, in the aftermath of tragedy, there are also those who seek to take advantage of communities and people’s desire to help. Well-intentioned or otherwise, those operating crowdfunding pages often formed overnight in response to crises may lack the experience, contacts, and staff needed to fulfill their commitments. Before donating online, Attorney General Bonta urges Californians to do their research.

“Our nation has once again been forced to confront more senseless gun violence. From Monterey Park to Half Moon Bay, our entire state is reeling,” said Attorney General Bonta. “While we have much work ahead to tackle America’s disease, people are also coming together to support those who are hurting and who have lost loved ones. I encourage all Californians to extend a helping hand wherever possible and to take advantage of the resources available across the state. If you plan on giving, please be wary of scammers and do your research before you donate. My heart goes out to all who are in pain in this moment and, at the California Department of Justice, we will continue to do our part to support local response efforts.”

Crowdfunding Donation Tips:

  • Research the Organizer: Learn all you can about the organizer before making a contribution. Use Google and LinkedIn to look up the organizer. Does the organizer have expertise in the area the campaign concerns? Check out their Facebook page. Does it look fake? Are the friends real? Are there real-time comments? Be suspicious of pages that were created right before the campaign started.
  • Research the Crowdfunding Platforms: There are many different crowdfunding platforms and they all have different rules. If you want a refund, you may have to get it from the organizer. Some platforms provide refunds only in certain situations, i.e., when the organizer makes false statements or is charged with a crime.
  • Do a Reverse Image Search: Fake campaigns often copy and paste other people’s stories or photos. Doing a reverse image search of the photos used in the campaign, as well as those used on the organizer’s social media pages, can show you if the photos are stolen. Be careful if the campaign is posted on multiple sites. Scammers will do this to reach more people.
  • Contact the Organizer and Ask Questions: Each crowdfunding site allows you to ask the organizer questions through the comments section. If an organizer is answering questions regularly, it is more likely that they are not trying to scam you.
  • Be Suspicious: Beware of campaigns that make you feel sorry for someone, but do not give you any details of how your money will be used. Be extra careful after a major disaster or tragedy because scammers will often try to take advantage of your desire to help victims. Beware of campaigns that seem too good to be true. They probably are.
  • Understand the Purpose of Crowdfunding: Remember that there is no guarantee that the crowdfunded campaign will be successful. When donating to a worthy cause, contributions are probably not tax deductible unless they are made to a nonprofit.
  • Learn More: Learn more about online crowdfunding and how to file a complaint through the California Department of Justice here

Resources for Crime Victims:

The California Department of Justice’s Victims’ Services Unit

The Victims of Crime Resource Center

U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime

Additional and In-Person Resources:

Alongside community organizations, the City of Monterey Park and Los Angeles County have set up a Victim and Survivor Resource Center at the Langley Senior Citizen Center to support people in Southern California. The center is located at 400 West Emerson Ave., Monterey Park, CA 91754. The center is currently open daily from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM and can be reached at 1-626-307-1395. Services offered at the center include mental health, crisis response, and victim support. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Bureau of Victim Services also offers support for victims, survivors, and their families. For those affected by the mass shooting in Half Moon Bay, the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Victim Services Division is available to provide support.

Resources such as emergency food and shelter, legal services, and health services can often be found directly through cities or counties. For those in need of legal support, pro bono legal assistance can be found through the State Bar of California and, for those who have been the victim of a violent crime, the California Victim Compensation Board can help cover related bills and expenses.

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