Better Business Bureau warns of scam charities following Orlando shooting

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — In the wake of the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting, the Better Business Bureau is warning people who want to donate money to help those impacted.

After a major disaster or tragedy, the BBB sees an increase in fraudulent charities soliciting donations.

“This is a worthy cause to give to,” BBB CEO Kathleen Calligan said. “But, before you click, do your homework.”

The BBB said you should be wary of charities who solicit donations door –to- door. Also, be careful of charities that pop-up and do not have a track record of charitable giving that you can verify.

“In the shadows are scammers who see this as the perfect opportunity to fool you into thinking you are giving to a legitimate charity,” Calligan said. “I couldn’t be any more serious about this particular situation in Orlando.”

A GoFundMe set up by Equality Florida raised more than $4.4 million in the first three days.

A separate GoFundMe set up by The Center of Orlando has raised more than $300,000 for the victims. The Center is a non-profit LGBT Community Center.

Joey Amato is publisher of UNITE Nashville, a magazine that focuses on the LGBT community. He said he is raising money for The Center.

“This particular GoFundMe page was set up by The Center,” Amato said. “That is why I created this Facebook group because there are people in Nashville who want to help but aren’t sure how.”

Amato has close ties to Orlando and spent eight years living there in college.

“There is nothing for someone to put up a website and promote it on Facebook saying you are the official website, but it may not be legit,” he said. “I know The Center’s GoFundMe is legitimate because I know the executive director and talked to him.”

Amato said he started working to raise money for The Center after seeing some questionable fundraising sites collecting money.

“One hundred percent of the money will go to The Center,” Amato said. “We are also going to have a booth at Nashville’s Pride Festival where people can make donations and buy shirts we are selling.”

For more information about protecting yourself from a charity scam visit the Better Business Bureau’s website HERE.

You can also check out a charity with the BBB’s charitable giving alliance website give.org.

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