Crowdsourcing charity scam alert issued by attorney general

Scams often use disaster or fake personal tragedy to exploit good intentions

By Roxy Tyler - Web producer

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Beware when you are donating to charities.  Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has issued a consumer alert about crowdsourcing charity scams. She said the scams often use a disaster or fake personal tragedy story to exploit people's good intentions.

Earlier this week, a suspicious crowdsourcing solicitation quickly raised nearly $1,000 from generous Floridians before being flagged as a potential scam. After Moody’s Consumer Protection Division began looking into the potential scam, the crowdsourcing platform removed the page and is holding contributions. 

“Crowdsourcing charity scams are designed to exploit the generous nature of well-intentioned donors. It is truly amazing how many generous people stand ready to give of their resources to help their fellow Floridians, but before giving, donors should take steps to make sure contributions will be used for the stated cause,” Moody said.

The following tips are designed to help donors spot and avoid crowdsourcing charity scams:

  • Research the webpage creator’s background and reviews before donating.
  • Know that there are many different crowdsourcing platforms, each with different terms of use and fraud investigation practices.
  • Check to see if the platform offers protections to donors should a campaign be found fraudulent.
  • Determine what percentage of any funds raised will go to the charity and what percentage goes to the platform.
  • Search to see if there are any identical or extremely similar campaigns. It is possible that a scam artist copies a legitimate campaign to fraudulently attract donors.

 If you have concerns about a crowdsourcing charity, you can report those concerns to MyFloridaLegal.com or by calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM.

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