INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The support continues to grow for the family of Southport Lieutenant Aaron Allan, but scammers may be trying to find ways to benefit from the tragedy.
24-Hour News 8 learned if you see something on social media about a fundraiser, it’s always best to check with the business, the nonprofit organization, or the police department.
You can also check with the Better Business Bureau if you’re not sure about a specific business or charity. Right now the only GoFundMe page authorized by the family is the page created by Southport Police Chief Thomas Vaughn.
In a time when people in the community are hurting, some scammers may be trying to take advantage of the pain.
“It’s absolutely sickening, but like I said, it’s not surprising our society just has some sick people,” said Angi Cheeseman, who runs Indy Going Blue and Indiana Going Blue.
Cheeseman runs the nonprofit organization on Facebook, a group supporting law enforcement. Her daughter is also a police officer.
“Every time there’s an officer that’s killed in the line of duty there are scammers that basically set up fake, bogus accounts, whether it be a fundraiser or a GoFundMe or things like that,” she said.
Cheeseman said scammers would even use the officer’s name and pictures to sell their cause.
“I know when (Officer) Rod Bradway was killed there were fundraisers,” she said. “I know with (Officer) Perry Renn there were fundraisers where the funds never made it to the family.”
Cheeseman is hoping to get the word out there so other people don’t become a victim when they’re trying to help.
“Scammers are everywhere. We can’t stop them, but what we can do is educate our public to make sure you are giving your money to the right places,” Cheeseman said
The Better Business Bureau said they have seen many of these cases before. Tim Maniscalo is the president and CEO of the BBB serving central Indiana.
“We’ve seen them on a local level and we’ve seen them on a national level with some sort of very large catastrophic, maybe like a natural disaster,” Maniscalo said.
He said most of these scammers are working out of the country.
“We are very giving people. We want to help each other and the scammers know that and so they are going to go to us and ask us for that and tug at our heart strings,” Maniscalo said.
If you would like to help the Allan family, the police chief said you can donate through the GoFundMe page, or mail a check to the Southport Police Department at 6901 Derbyshire Road, Southport, IN., 46227.
The police department is also working with Indiana Going Blue on several things to help raise money for the Allan family from decals to t-shirts. Click here to place a direct order.
Indiana Going Blue is also collecting uniform patches from members in law enforcement to emergency responders. They are hoping to do something special with the patches to present to the Allan family.
The group did a similar project for the family of Howard County Deputy Carl Koontz. You can mail the patches to Indiana Going Blue at P.O. Box 17642 Indianapolis, IN., 46217.