Family, friends of Highland Park shooting victims receiving scam calls

Family members and friends of victims injured during the Highland Park Fourth of July mass shooting have reported receiving calls from potential scammers, the Illinois attorney general's office said Wednesday.

Many of the calls came from people asking for money in exchange for helping victims apply for aid through the Illinois Crime Victims Compensation Program, which provides financial reimbursement to victims who meet certain requirements.

Scam callers will misrepresent the program and claim victims need to pay an application fee to qualify for state funds. But, in reality, victims of violent crime can apply to the state program online for free, according to the news release.

"I am reminding all Illinois residents to exercise caution, and utilize free information and resources available through the attorney general's office to avoid being defrauded by those seeking to take advantage of the gun violence plaguing too many of our communities," Attorney General Kwame Raoul said in the news release.

The state's crime victims compensation program can provide reimbursement for costs associated with funeral and burial, lost wages, counseling, and medical, hospital, dental and other expenses.

In addition to the specific threat of scammers trying to dupe victims by misrepresenting the program, Raoul's office also warned those seeking to donate funds to victims of the mass shooting to exercise caution to ensure their money is going to the right people.

Sometimes scammers will attempt to get money from well-intentioned people by giving their sham charity a name that sounds similar to a legitimate organization.

Another telltale sign that scammers are behind a charity solicitation is if they use high-pressure tactics, ask for a cash payment or insist on the donation being handed over in person, according to the news release.

Raoul's office encourages those who may have encountered a scammer or who want to report a suspicious solicitation to call (312) 814-2595.

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