In the wake of the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, many people may want to help by donating money to the impacted families.
However, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning people to be cautious about where they’re giving their money.
Scammers often try to take advantage of people's generosity after tragedies like the recent mass shootings, according to the BBB.
Another risk in giving, according to the BBB, revolves around well-intentioned people who aren’t able to deliver the relief they originally promised when they ask for donations.
On Wednesday, the BBB published a list of tips to help people avoid scammers or misuse of funds.
1. Check charities on Give.org before donating and make sure they meet the BBB Standards for Charitable Accountability.
2. Read up on the vetting processes of crowdfunding sites before donating. The BBB recommends only donating to people you know personally. And if a campaign claims to donate to a charity, consider donating to that charity directly.
3. Confirm how and when the donations will be used. The BBB recommends avoiding vague requests for money.
4. Consider donating to more established organizations rather than new ones. Established charities are more likely to be able to address the situation quickly.
5. Donate money to charities, not items. "Donating money is the quickest way to help and provides charities the flexibility to channel resources to impacted areas," the BBB wrote.
6. Be cautious if a group promises that 100% of donations will go to the impacted families. The BBB says there are typically other administrative and fundraising expenses that have to be covered somehow.
7. "Never click on links to unfamiliar charity websites or in text messages or email," the BBB warns. The bureau also warns against trusting charities recommended on social media, which may not have been vetted.
8. If you plan to donate to a celebrity’s fundraiser, make sure they have identified how they plan to use the funds or if they’re working with a charity.
9. Make sure the charity you donate to is transparent about how their funds are spent.
10. Check that any charity you donate to is registered with the applicable government agency. According to the BBB, 40 out of 50 states require charities to register with a state government agency.
11. Make sure any crowdfunding campaign or organization that is using the names or photographs of the families of victims to raise money have the permission of the families.
Some advocacy groups may also ask for donations, but some of those groups may not be tax-exempt charities, the BBB warns.
12. If a family sets up their own assistance fund, be aware that they may not be set up as charities, the BBB said.
13. After tragedies like the Texas school shooting, some advocacy groups may also ask for donations, but the BBB warns that some of those groups may not be tax-exempt charities.
14. The BBB also encourages people to keep in mind that not all organizations asking for money are tax exempt — and there are also some donor-restricted contributions that may also not be tax exempt.
Anyone wanting more information about avoiding scammers in the wake of tragedy can visit BBB.org.