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Entries in Victims (4)

Wednesday
Dec192012

Connecticut Shooting: Scammers Trying To Profit from Sandy Hook Tragedy

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Scammers may be looking to cash in on the public's generosity following the Sandy Hook massacre, the Better Business Bureau warned.

"It is a challenge to be on guard because public sympathy and emotions are running high," said Bennett Weiner, chief operating officer of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, a group that helps charitable donors make informed decisions.

Weiner said it's difficult for scams to be detected in the first week following every national tragedy, however he suspects unscrupulous people are already out there, eager to cash in on the massacre.

How to Help Newtown Families:

False websites or phone calls soliciting help for the victims' families are two of the easiest and most common scams Weiner said he sees.

"They're hard to identify because people don't know they've been taken and they're not going to know until down the road," he said.

After the Sandy Hook massacre, countless Facebook pages for the victims, listings on crowdfunding sites and community drives have been established to solicit donations.

While many of them may be legitimate, Weiner warns people to do their research.

"You really have to be watching out for newly created things. There may be some well-intended effort, but you have no way to look at their track record," he said. "I can tell you from experience there are some cautions associated with it."

Any fundraising effort that makes vague statements, such as "we're going to help the victims and families," is another red flag to watch out for, Weiner said.

Whether it's fundraising for the Aurora theater victims or a local terminally ill child, Weiner said the BBB sees these kinds of scams "time and time again" and actively investigates them.

"It is a challenge to be on guard after a tragedy," he said. "But you shouldn't give to any organization without checking them out first."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov012012

Verizon and AT&T Deploy Trucks to Help Sandy Victims Recharge

Verizon Wireless(NEW YORK) -- As many without electricity gather in Starbucks or banks to get a little bit of power and access a Wi-Fi signal, AT&T and Verizon are stepping up their efforts to help.

Both of the cellular carriers have announced Thursday that they will be deploying stations to help provide power and connectivity for Hurricane Sandy victims. They will also offer free charging at their store locations in areas affected by the storm.

Verizon has deployed what it calls Wireless Emergency Communications Centers, or WECCs, on Staten Island, at Monmouth University, and in Toms River, N.J. The trailers provide outlets to charge phones or computers, computer workstations for victims to get online, as well as wireless phones for people to use. In addition to those WECCs, Verizon is offering free device charging and domestic calls at Verizon stores.

AT&T is doing more in the heart of New York City. Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced during his press conference Thursday that AT&T will be positioning its own charging stations or trailers at food and water stations, which are being set up in all the five boroughs of New York City. Similar to Verizon, AT&T is offering free charging at its other stores in the Northeast.

AT&T is also allowing for recovery donations to be made via text message. You can pledge $10 to the Red Cross (REDCROSS), Salvation Army (STORM) and to the American Humane Society (HUMANE).

The four major U.S. carriers -- AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile -- have issued statements about their continued efforts to restore full service on the East Coast.

"The vast majority of our cell sites in the Northeast are online and working. We are making progress in areas that were especially hard-hit, including New York City and New Jersey, where flooding, power loss, transportation and debris all pose challenges," an AT&T spokesperson told ABC News.

On Wednesday, AT&T and T-Mobile announced that they were joining hands, allowing their networks to interoperate. If AT&T service is down in one area, customers will be able to use T-Mobile's service and vice versa.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov012012

Six Free Things for People Affected by Hurricane Sandy

STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- While businesses have been warned against illegal price gouging as a result of Hurricane Sandy, the disaster has also led to stories of generosity.

Millions are without power in the Northeast as city and state officials scramble to equip shelters with power and food.

Citizens and the private sector are pitching in, offering discounted hotel rates for first responders in some places while banks are waiving fees for victims. Bank of America, Citi, Wells Fargo and TD Bank are among the firms waiving things like overdraft fees for a limited time.

Here are six things people in affected areas of Hurricane Sandy can get for free for a limited time:

1. Free Wi-Fi service


Comcast announced it will allow anyone to access Xfinity Wi-Fi hot spots in several states affected by Hurricane Sandy.

The service, which is normally available to paid subscribers, is available in Maine, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Delaware, Washington, D.C., Virginia, West Virginia and Massachusetts.

Non-Xfinity customers should search for the "xfinitywifi" network name and click on the "Not a Comcast subscriber?" link at the bottom of the Sign In page. Then select the "Complimentary Trial Session" option from the drop-down list.

Comcast said users will be able to renew their complimentary sessions every two hours through Nov. 7.

Hotspots are located indoors and outdoors in public places, such as shopping centers, parks and train platforms, according to the company. Comcast said complimentary Wi-Fi service may not be available in partner Wi-Fi hotspot locations.

You can visit www.xfinity.com/wifi for locations.

2. Free showers, workouts


Beginning on Wednesday, Town Sports International network of gyms have opened its doors for full use of its facilities, "whether it's the need for a hot shower, to charge a cell phone battery, or simply to recharge their batteries with a stress-relieving workout" until Nov. 14.

The Town Sports International network has 160 locations including New York Sports Clubs, Boston Sports Clubs, Washington Sports Clubs and Philadelphia Sports Clubs.

To find a club near you, residents 18 or older must show a photo ID. They can visit www.mysportsclubs.com to see if there is a nearby open facility.

The company said guests are encouraged to bring their own towels due to restricted towel delivery.

3. 11-Year-Old's Pop-Up Internet Cafe

Lucy Walkowiak, 11, of Hoboken, N.J., opened up a pop-up Internet cafe so people can charge their mobile devices and contact loved ones. While they are there, people can also give donations to the Red Cross.

Walkowiak set up shop in front of her home in Hoboken, open from 7:30 A.M. until 10 P.M. on Wednesday and continuing Thursday.

"I was just happy to help all the people without power in my community because so many people don't have power," she told ABC's Good Morning America. "And we were one of the lucky ones who had power all through the hurricane. So we just decided to donate some of our power to people who have not had power for days and need to charge up their phones and other electronics."

4. More places to charge your phone


Brightbox, Inc., a New York City startup that usually charges a flat fee to charge your mobile device in public places, has set up free charging stations in Manhattan.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that AT&T will also bring pods that provide cell coverage and charging stations near the city's food distribution centers.

5. Free subway and bus rides


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced free subway, bus and commuter rail services on Thursday and Friday to encourage the use of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's mass transit. New York City is still reeling from limited subway service due to flooding.

6. Free car rides

Mayor Bloomberg has limited traffic into the city as non-operating traffic lights have led to major jams, allowing only cars with three passengers or more onto four East River bridges into Manhattan through Friday. There are reports of some desperate solo drivers who are driving into Manhattan offering free rides to pedestrians and even bicyclists.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct012012

Aurora Theater Says It's Not Liable for Colo. Shooter's Rampage

Thomas Cooper/Getty Images(AURORA, Colo.) -- The movie theater chain sued by three moviegoers injured by a gunman in Aurora, Colo., has filed to dismiss the lawsuit, saying that it could not have foreseen the mass shooting that took place July 20.

"It would be patently unfair, and legally unsound, to impose on Cinemark, a private business in the entertainment industry, the duty and burden to have foreseen and prevented the criminal equivalent of a meteor falling from the sky," a court document filed by Cinemark on Thursday stated.

James Holmes, 24, was charged with murder and attempted murder after killing 12 and injuring 58 other people.

Cinemark USA is based in Plano, Texas, and has 461 theaters in the U.S. and Latin America as of June 30, the company states on its website. Cinemark did not return a request for comment.

Keating, Wagner, Polidori and Free, the law firm representing the first three plaintiffs who filed a lawsuit in Denver federal court against Cinemark, did not immediately return a request for comment.

The plaintiffs, Joshua Nowlan, Denise Traynom and Brandon Axelrod, each were shot in various parts of their bodies. Nowlan's right arm was almost severed from the gunshots, the suit says, plus he had injuries to his left leg.

"Although the theater was showing a midnight premiere of the movie and was expecting large crowds of people to attend the midnight showing, no security personnel were present for that showing," their lawsuit stated.

The plaintiffs argue the theater should have been prepared for the shooting, after alleging a previous gang shooting at the venue.

In its motion to dismiss, the theater disputed the assertion, but said that even if it was true, "such an event would be insufficient to make a madman's mass murder foreseeable."

Loren Brown, a personal injury attorney in Colorado who is not involved with the lawsuit, said the state's Lawsuit Premises Liability Act puts some of the burden of protecting customers who are entering property to conduct business.

"If you have someone coming onto your property, or a class of person coming to do business, you've got to take reasonable steps to protect them from dangers that you know about or should know about it," Brown said.

Brown said in order for the plaintiffs to be successful, they will have to relate any past violent incidents at the theater to the mass shootings. That could be a "closer call," Brown said.

"If you have a couple drunks get into a fight in the lobby, that's a whole different thing than someone coming and doing what James Holmes did. That's something that the defense will want to draw out; that it was so unique in character, there's no way it could have been predicted."

Brown said he expects more of the victims will file lawsuits against the theater. He called the law firm representing the plaintiffs, "one of the premier firms in Denver for injured people."

"I would expect to see once they get their toes in the water, other people will be getting more brave," he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio