Beware of “fire fundraiser” scams

Opportunistic attention seekers glom on Hoboken Fire Victims

The devastating fire that happened yesterday evening at 300 Washington Street is no laughing matter. An entire building was essentially destroyed, and lives were in jeopardy. Luckily no serious injuries were reported (Fireman broke a hand, various smoke inhalation cases, and it appears at least two cats perished).

But as most good communities are – people tend to reach out and offer help to those that lost everything. “Neighbors helping neighbors.” That is human nature. It’s been like that for as long as humans have been in existence.

However, as society has so-called “advanced,” a new breed of opportunists have emerged: those that prey on these emotionally charged events to take advantage of the situation for their own benefit. And it does not matter whether that benefit is financial, social, egotistical or otherwise. Sort of akin to selling memorabilia at a celebrity funeral.

Attention whores, business scorpions, and political opportunists jump

You know something is entirely wrong – when a select group of Hoboken individuals band together after each weak moment in town – because they’re acting purely in a self-serving manner.

When former scam artist convicts, various lounge owners (in a “struggling” economy) and select politicians all leaping on this opportunity to be involved with a “fundraiser” for victims of this fire – wouldn’t that make you at least think twice about what their intentions really are? Are we that dumb in this sophisticated city that we need such hand-holding to help each other out?

And who starts marketing their businesses & fire fundraisers while the fire is still burning? That sure is a classy move!

While on paper, any so-called “fundraiser” may sound like a nice thing to do – don’t automatically assume it’s on the up and up. Several sources to Hoboken411 have suspected that these fundraisers are more than just that. They serve several purposes: One, to give themselves “free publicity,” next to prop up egos, more media attention – and in some cases, money might get redirected, or used to cover excessive overhead (for example the American Cancer Society is suspected of being a fraud.)

Who needs fundraisers? Just donate individually!

The BEST way to help so called victims of fires like this is to send them money directly. We’re unsure if any of them rent out or not – so perhaps the best bet is to send a check to the condo association – and hope that they’re trustworthy enough to disseminate the funds donated to the individuals that RESIDED THERE and lost their personal belongings and effects, or have no insurance at all.

Below is a list of the property owners and the condo association. Surely mail sent to that address will be held at the post office or safe-keeping. And the checks cashed will certainly come back with a signature on the back so you can verify who received your money.

Home insurance, renters insurance?

On top of this moment being a firm reminder that everyone should have either homeowners or renters insurance, we should also find out which tenants did NOT. Because any charity should likely go to those in real need. Some Hoboken411 readers wonder why anyone needs a fundraiser when each of these people should have had property insurance of some degree. Helping out with a bed or some short term stuff should be fine – but is an all out fund-raising “gala” really necessary?

Additionally – if you see the same set of people involved with every fund raising event time after time – you begin to wonder “what’s in it for them?” Because charitable actions and fund raising without any personal benefit becomes questionable after some time… how can they survive without compensation? Are they all independently wealthy?

All we suggest is you read between the lines before letting your emotions misdirect money from your purses.

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11 Comments on "Beware of “fire fundraiser” scams"

3 years 9 months ago

Two of my friends rented with one other guy from the owner of one of the apartments in the building. I’m unaware of how many more residents were renters vs owners. Fortunately for my friends, no one was home at the time of the fire. Hopefully a way to donate directly to the victims can be determined as NO ONE should PROFIT from such a horrific and life altering event.

3 years 9 months ago

You act like there is some kind of felon running this charity! 😯

I feel really bad for the people who’ve been displaced, but did kind of do a double take this morning when it was all over my facebook. Like really? It’s almost like they started after the first spark hit the sidewalk!

3 years 9 months ago

kk they were marketing it before the fire gutted the building. anything that branco is attached to i walk the opposite way. smells fishy to me.

3 years 9 months ago

One free drink? If you really wanted to show charity, why not free open bar? That will certainly get more of a turnout. I also think true charity is done anonymously without the needs for credit or being in the spotlight.

Some people in Hoboken are really easy to see through.

3 years 9 months ago

Why was it OK when there was the Beth Mason 1203 Washington Street fire fundraiser a little over 4 years ago? This site supported that event at the Madison Bar and Grill. It was $15 for 1/2 priced well drinks, beer and wine. Just trying to understand what the differences are. I’d like to support the victims the best way possible.