Donate safely: Avoiding crowd funding scams – KXLY Spokane

Donate safely: Avoiding crowd funding...

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane area has seen several stories that showcase positive effects that crowd funding has had right here in our community.

A GoFundMe page was used to raise thousands of dollars for the family of Lizzie Knudsen, a Deer Park mother killed in a car wreck that also injured her daughter.

The Spokane community also used the site to try and save its beloved Donut Parade and, once, a GoFundMe page even bought former Spokane County Sheriff's K9 Laslo a bulletproof vest.

It's those kinds of stories that highlight the good crowd funding can do, opening the doors for people anywhere to donate to any cause.

When something really tragic like this happens, we all want to reach out and help- that's great, said Kirstin Davis with the Better Business Bureau.

But, online fundraisers also opens the door to vulnerability, which scammers will pounce on.

Anytime that- whether it's a single person or the general public or a certain population thats being affected, they are going to take advantage of that situation, Davis said.

It's exactly what the family of Robert Godwin Sr., gunned down in a Facebook video by Steve Stephens on Sunday, fear could be happening to them. Several accounts have been set up in his name for their benefit, that did not originate with them.

Some of those pages are legitimate, but the family is asking the nation not to donate to GoFundMe accounts.

Closer to home, that's exactly what happened when three people were killed in a Lake Coeur d'Alene boat crash last year. A woman started a GoFundMe page for the families but instead, used some of the money raised to buy a tanning salon.

How do you make sure your money gets where it's supposed to go?

Just take a minute and step back and say: 'What is the best use of my money, and how am I going to get it to that person or where I want it to go,' Davis said.

It might be awkward, but the BBB says a good way to see if a page is legitimate is to ask.

Take that extra step of verification. make sure that that crowd sourcing site or link is actually going to the people that you know or you want it to go to, Davis said.

To check out which crowd funding sites are accredited by the BBB, head to their website here.

You can also check out the BBB Scam Tracker, to report potential fraudulent pages.

GoFundMe has a guarantee for donors and beneficiaries. For more information on that, check out their policy here.

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Donate safely: Avoiding crowd funding scams - KXLY Spokane

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