Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado has warned that scammers are likely to try to take advantage of people trying to donate to causes in the wake of the tragic mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs.
BBB Wise Giving Alliance is also reminding potential donors of the following factors to consider when making donations.
Does the appeal respect victims and their families?
Charitable organizations or crowdfunding postings raising funds should get permission from the families to use either the names of the victims and/or any photographs of them. Don’t assume there is an official connection if photos are displayed.
How will donations be used?
Be cautious about vague appeals that don’t identify the intended use of funds. For example, is money being collected for funeral expenses or other family needs? Also, unless told otherwise, donors will assume that funds quickly collected after a tragedy will be distributed or spent just as quickly. This is not always the case.
Tragedies that involve violent acts with firearms can also bring requests from advocacy organizations that address gun use. Donors can support these efforts as well; be aware of whether the advocacy group you plan to support is tax exempt as a charity. Use caution with newly created advocacy groups that will be difficult to check out.
Contributions that are donor-restricted to help a specific individual/family are not deductible in the United States. as charitable donations, even if the recipient organization is a charity. (See IRS Publication 526, page 7, for more information.)
Crowdfunding has become so popular that it is not unusual for fundraising to start within hours after a tragedy has occurred. Keep in mind that while some crowdfunding sites take precautions in screening, vetting and managing postings after a tragedy, others might not. Review the posting procedures described on the crowdfunding site and find out about transaction fees and other fine print.
BBB reminds donors to check out charities by visiting Give.org to verify that the charity you plan to support meets the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.