JACKSONVILLE, Fla -- A makeshift memorial is growing outside the theater where 12 people lost their lives and 58 others were shot. Mourners are leaving flowers and notes for the victims.
Many who survived the tragedy are now left with mounting medical expenses and the nation is opening it's wallet. It's hard to imagine anyone wanting to profit off a tragedy like this, but the Better Business Bureau is warning, scammers are chomping at the bit.
"People are more willing to take advantage of people just because they can," said Tom Stephens.
The BBB is already bracing for scammers. Stephens says it seems to happen every time tragedy strikes.
"There's always going to be someone who says 'Aha! I can figure out a way to make some money out of this,'" he said.
Hearts broke all across the world after the biggest mass shooting in U.S. history unfolded in Colorado. Now, strangers are stepping forward wanting to help the victims. But generosity needs to be guarded.
"What you don't want to do is just give to some yahoo that sends you an email and says help the victims and I started this fund overnight and you never heard of him and he's not affiliated with any existing charity."
Stephens says it's important to do serious research because often scammers will create a fake agency mocking a real one's name hoping to trick you.
And he says most are believable. "Very believably because they tug at the heart they get the emotions working."
A disturbing reality the BBB says many people have fallen victim to in the past and they fully expect it to happen again.
"I would like to have a conversation with those people to find out what works, how their mind works how they can just take advantage of people how they sleep at night I don't understand it."
Stephens recommends checking online to make sure the agency you're going to donate to is legit. You can check on the BBB's website or with the IRS. He also says known organizations like the Salvation Army and United Way are always safe bets. You just need to remember to ask if your money will go toward the Aurora shooting victims.