As city and civic leaders announced the establishment of a donation fund for the families of the victims in a mass shooting at a beauty salon last week, they also warned about scammers who may be using this tragedy to benefit themselves.
Special Report: Complete Coverage of the Seal Beach Massacre
“It seems like in any tragedy, there’s always an opportunist out there wanting to make money for themselves,” said Mark Perisco, a city spokesman. “We have not heard of any scams happening yet, but that’s not to say it can’t or won’t happen.”
City leaders hoped to minimize the risk of donation scams by setting up the “Seal Beach Victims’ Fund,” an account established at the Bank of America on 208 Main St., by the city, Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce and Watson and Associates, the owner of the shopping center at 500 Pacific Coast Highway where Scott Evans Dekraai of Huntington Beach allegedly killed his ex-wife and seven others Wednesday, according to police.
"This tragedy has touched the community of Seal Beach in many ways, one of which is the outpouring of sympathy and support for the families of this senseless act of violence," said Seal Beach Mayor Pro Temp Gary Miller. "I'm pleased to announce that the city and the business community have come together to establish a fund which will benefit the immediate families of the victims of the crime."
The city is aware of several other fundraisers being put on by business owners and others in the community. Vons collected donations at the Seal Beach Pavilions, on 1101 Pacific Coast Highway, on Saturday and Sunday. The company pledged to match customer donations up to $25,000 and donate all the funds to the Salon Meritage Memorial Fund, another memorial fund created in the wake of the tragedy.
“We don’t want to stop anyone from putting on a legitimate effort,” said Perisco. “Our best advice is if people have concerns about the legitimacy of a fundraising effort, the easiest way to donate is to the Seal Beach Victims’ Fund.”
Those who do wish to host their own fundraiser, special event or related activity are encouraged to coordinate the event with the Chamber of Commerce, which is functioning as a clearinghouse for all such events, according to a city news release Saturday.
Donations to the “Seal Beach Victims’ Fund” can be mailed or delivered to the Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce or the Bank of America. Credit cards will also be accepted.