CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — After very public tragedies such as the recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, people want to help in any way possible. Often, that means contributing to fundraisers and sadly, scammers often take advantage of these moments of vulnerability to deceive donors.
In many instances, the Better Business Bureau reports seeing con artists who have set up generic fundraisers asking for money on behalf of victims. These are often campaigns set up by individuals who may or may not be directly connected to victims or their families. Just last week, the BBB reports that the FBI office in El Paso issued a warning to watch for phone calls from scammers. They claim to be from a funeral home or medical examiner’s office and ask for money to arrange services.
Unfortunately, these thieves will use major news events to create fake fundraising sites.
So, what are some things people should consider when looking to donate or volunteer? According to the BBB:
Can I verify the charity? Make sure your time and money are going to the right places. You can verify charities by checking them out on www.give.org. Read the reviews.
Is crowdfunding the best option? Remember, some crowdfunding sites do little to vet the individuals who post for assistance. Consider only donating to a crowdfunding site if you know the person running it. You may find a newly created organization better fits the needs of those you want to help. However, more established organizations are easier to verify and generally have more experience to address the circumstances.
How will donations be used? Watch out for vague appeals that do not identify the intended use of funds. For example, find out how the donations help victims’ families. Also, unless told otherwise, donors will assume that funds collected quickly in the wake of a tragedy will be spent just as quickly. See if the appeal identifies when the collected funds will be used.
To learn more about the best ways to help those affected by tragic events, visit www.BBB.org/GivingAfterTragedy.