Beware of fake charities collecting for Orlando victims

CROMWELL, Conn. (WTNH) — Just days after the Orlando nightclub massacre, many fundraising websites have surfaced to collect money for victims and their families. While it’s great to give, you want to know the money is going where you think it’s going.

In just a matter of days, dozens of fundraisers have popped up online to help victims in Orlando but consumer experts warn to look closely before handing over your hard-earned money. The Orlando nightclub massacre sent shockwaves across the nation. In response, the nation is opening their wallets.

Fundraising website, GoFundMe announced an Orlando campaign broke fundraising records with nearly 100 thousands people giving generously to victims and their families. And there are dozens more with a seemingly common goal, or so we think.

“Unfortunately, after every disaster there are phony websites,” said Connecticut’s Better Business Spokesman Howard Schwartz.

Schwartz reminds you to be as smart as you are charitable and look for signs one might not be as it seems.

“One of the big red flags we see is a charity that says 100% of the donations go to the intended recipients. You need to be realistic, there are bills that have to be paid in the process,” he said.

It’s also good to research the charity and make sure the organizer behind it has experience collecting and dispensing funds. Don’t assume a charity shared on social media has been vetted. Another layer of protection is how you pay.

“There’s a big difference between paying by debit card and paying by credit card. If there’s fraud and you’ve used your debit card they can clean out your account,” he added.

The better business bureau has a website: Give.org that can help you research charities.

Another idea is to call city officials where the tragedy actually occurred. Have them point you in the direction of primary fundraisers.

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