FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – In the wake of the tragedy in Orlando, many people are looking for ways to help. Crowdfunding websites have become a popular way to do that, but it’s important to do your research before you donate.
More than 200 campaigns have been created in the days following the deadly attack; all of them aimed at helping the victims. But there are criminals hoping to cash in on your donations too.
Creating an account simply requires you to go to the site, setting up a goal and sharing the link to your campaign with friends and family. Typically, GoFundMe gets about 8 percent of every donation.
Bobby Whithorne, a spokesman for GoFundMe, acknowledges it can be difficult to tell which campaigns are legitimate and which ones are not. He encourages all individuals to donate only to trusted campaigns.
If you don’t know the user, he said it would be a good idea to contact a campaign organizer directly through the website and be sure to read how the funds will be used.
“We are in communication with the campaign organizers to ensure they are communicating with donors about how the funds will be used,” he said.
GoFundMe also has its own methods to scope out fraudulent accounts.
“We have multiple layers of protection in place and we deploy proprietary tools in addition to the folks that monitor fraudulent behavior,” he said.
Whithorne also noted that the company relies on the 25 million users to alert them to about suspicious accounts.
“If they see something that might not be right, they tell us and our team looks into it,” he said. “But for the most part donors should feel confident in the go fund me campaigns.”
GoFundMe has raised more than $2 billion for important causes worldwide since it launched in 2010. It is the world’s largest fundraising site.
This story was originally published by News 4 sister station WANE, a Media General Contributing station.