NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – When tragic events like the Robb Elementary School mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, or another mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, take place, people frequently look for ways they can help the affected communities. Many people turn to fundraisers as a way to assist.
Multiple GoFundMe accounts have been set up for the families of those killed in Texas this week. First State Bank of Uvalde set up an official Memorial Fund. University Health, in Uvalde, has asked people to consider donating blood as another way to help. A blood drive was set up at the Texas State Capitol Thursday.
But tragic events also bring out those with bad intentions. The Better Business Bureau of Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky warns scammers use times of tragedy to take advantage of kind-hearted strangers.
People need to be aware of potential scams before donating their money to organizations helping victims of recent tragedies.
“We always encourage generosity,” said Robyn Householder, President and CEO of BBB Middle TN and Southern KY. “We understand individuals want to assist immediately, but it is important to pause and do some research.”
BBB suggests donors not assume everyone using the names or photos of victims has received permission from the families to do so. They also urge donors to be cautious about appeals that do not specifically identify the intended use of funds.
“Donors should visit the Give.org website where they can verify if a charity meets the BBB standards for charitable accountability,” Householder said. “Taking this first step will help reduce confusion and the potential for scams.”
Four tips for anyone interested in providing monetary support to assist families during tragedies should follow are:
- Review crowdfunding sites to find out transaction fees and other specifics
- Before donating to a celebrity’s fundraising effort, look beyond the fame and see if thy identify plans for the intended use of funds
- Beware of vague appeals for money that do not identify how funds will be used
- Never click on links to unfamiliar charity websites sent through text messages or email
If a charity donation seems like it might be fraudulent, donors can report it to the BBB online. For more tips on charitable giving, visit the BBB Wise Giving Alliance website.