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Eye on Scams

In light of the terrible mass shootings over the weekend, people want to contribute to fundraisers to help the survivors and the families of the victims.

Scammers are taking advantage of these moments of vulnerability to deceive donors. The biggest question when donating funds to help people in light of the mass shootings over the weekend is “how do you know your money is going to the right place?”
Anyone can set up a donation page and that’s what scammers are doing right now.
Chris Babin, with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, said, “There’s pictures all over the Internet of survivors, of victims, and their families, so it’s really easy to gather those create an account and pretend as though you’re associated with a tragedy, when in reality, you’re not.”
A scammer can pretend they’re a real victim when creating crowdfunding sites, such as GoFundMe or Facebook donation pages.

“They don’t ask for whole lot of substantiation. If you get on there, and say there, ‘I’m this person from here,’ they just take it for that,” added Babin. “They don’t have to send any proof of identification or any of those kinds of things, so it’s real easy to create an account and pretend you’re somebody that you’re not.”

The Better Business Bureau said if the fundraiser isn’t associated with an experienced charity, reconsider donating.
“In this way, they’re going to create either fake organizations to take funds from donors or fake accounts pretending to be associated with victims’ families or survivors hoping that donors send them the money, and not the real relief efforts,” explained Babin.

Experts say scammers could use a valuable charities’ name that they pretend to collect funds from.

Babin said, “A lot of organizations that scammers create don’t take the time to put in that effort. They just create the organization with a name and hope that they receive funds.”

The Better Business Bureau said some fundraising pages may just be designed for “click bait” to gain a large number of followers that can later be sold to a new page owner.
Here are some tips to look out for when it comes to donating to the right fundraising efforts:

  • Make sure you check charity ratings. Take the time to check out the charity to avoid wasting your generosity by donating to a questionable managed effort.
  • Verify the trustworthiness of crowdfunding. Keep in mind that some crowdfunding sites do very little vetting of individuals who decide to post for assistance after a tragedy.
  • How will donations be used? Make sure you watch out for vague appeals that don’t identify the intended use of funds.

For additional information, visit the Better Business Bureau.

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