COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Better Business Bureau is sending a major warning about fake online fundraising campaigns as the popularity of the websites just keeps growing.
The organization says that crooks are taking the generosity of donors and turning them into victims. But experts indicate there are ways you can protect yourself. The key is to do a bit of research before you give.
It doesn't take much, a simple web search and you'll find a host of crowdfunding pages. From Kickstarter to GoFundMe, people raising funds for education, to couples trying to pay off their wedding and honey moon. If you're willing to give, there's plenty of opportunity but you need to be smart to ensure you're not the victim of a scam.
"We see it a lot in the wake of tragedies," said Jessica Kapcar with the Better Business Bureau.
Kapcar told ABC 6 that it's a growing scam, so large in fact there's now even a website dedicated to spotting crowdfunding fraud. Fake pages popped up following the death of two Westerville officers last year.
"It's unfortunate because like I said, people really do want to help," Kapcar told ABC6.
Here's a few things to remember: donate to people you know and trust. If you plan to give to someone you don't know, look into their background. A little research goes a long way.
Another good idea is to do a reverse image search. Make sure the pictures they're posting on the fundraising site aren't actually taken from someone else.
Experts stress that they're not trying to push people away from giving. They just want you to be smart with the dollars you give.
The BBB also urges people to contact them if they have any concerns about online fundraisers.