Boston, MA - The bombing at the Boston Marathon earlier this afternoon have caused a lot of confusion, and the details are still being sorted out as we speak. However, there are ways you can help. Of course, the scam artists know this and have already set up phony donation links to trick good-hearted people out of their hard-earned dollars.
First thing's first: How can you help the Boston Marathon victims? The explosions have made communications on the ground difficult, but there are plenty of resources available to you. You can register with the American Red Cross' Safe and Well website here to connect with victims, victims' families, or others around the country looking for answers.
If you're searching for family or friends, you can call (617) 635-4500. If you have information for police, you can call 800-494-TIPS.
Anything aside from that mentioned above is a scam. One Twitter account went live within an hour of the tragedy, claiming to donate $1 for Boston Marathons for every retweet.
Tweeps called out the account after noticing it was brand new, wasn't verified, and had suspicious follow accounts. The account has since been suspended, but more are certain to pop up as they do during every tragedy.
If you see a Twitter handle or tweet providing a link to a donation page, proceed with caution. The same applies to Facebook pages as well. Anything that is asking for "shares," "likes," or "rewteets" is immediately suspect.
If it's a donation page, they want your money. Otherwise, pages asking for "likes" and such are there to drive up user engagement and popularity only to be sold later. They're fully-functional pages with fully-functional and real fans and likes. Don't give them your attention.
Also, pay attention to what each other are saying. If a ton of commenters are flaming a handle or a page for capitalizing on tragedy, trust each other. They're probably right.
If you want to help the Boston Marathon aid effort, stick to the links above. Don't fall for anything else.
[Image via: winnond, Shutterstock.com]