Don’t get scammed: How to avoid fake charities after El Paso and Dayton shootings

EL PASO, Texas — The beautiful thing about human nature is the willingness to give to help neighbors in need. However, the ugly truth is that there are people in the world who are just as willing to take advantage of that.

After the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, dozens of distraught families were left wondering how they would cope with unexpected funeral costs. The average cost of a funeral service with a viewing and burial can range from $7,000 to almost $9,000, according to the National Funeral Directors Association.

As viewers saw the tragedy unfold on television, they began turning to charities and crowdfunding sites to donate and help the grieving families.

“There’s a knee-jerk reaction to give,” said Ashley Post, spokesperson at Charity Navigator, an independent charities evaluator. “You see something horrible happening and you want to do something to help.”

This knee-jerk reaction to give creates the perfect environment for scammers to take advantage of that generosity.

Is GoFundMe a safe place to donate?

Although the crowdfunding site GoFundMe is mostly safe to use, Post says, it’s not their job to confirm every campaign that’s hosted on the site.

“It’s a public platform for everyone and so they’re not promising to weed people out,” she said.

However, GoFundMe says that they take extra precautions when tragedies such as mass shootings occur.

“GoFundMe immediately begins monitoring the platform 24/7 for all new GoFundMe campaigns created to help the victims, families and the community,” said GoFundMe spokesperson Jenny Perillo.

When a campaign is created, GoFundMe works to verify the identity of the campaign organizers, the beneficiary of the campaign and ensure that the money is transferred to the right place.

The company provides a way for users to get in contact with the campaign organizer to verify their identity and report a campaign if they feel it may be a scam, too.

There is also a list of verified El Paso GoFundMe campaigns available online.

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