You may have seen reports in the news of the devastating fire that recently destroyed the USS Bonhomme Richard. Dozens of Sailors were forced to flee the burning ship and lost all their possessions. When a distressing event like this happens, many folks look for ways to help victims. However, you also want to make sure your money gets to the people you want to help. In this case, scammers are making that confusing and difficult. Officials at Naval Base Coronado have sounded the alarm about fake crowdfunding pages they have discovered trying to take advantage of the crisis.
Here are some tips from the Federal Trade Commission to help you donate wisely:
-- Don’t assume solicitations on crowdfunding sites are legitimate. It might be impossible for you to know if the cause is real and if the money actually gets to the intended recipient. Even if posts have been shared on social media or liked by your friends, don’t assume that the fundraiser is legitimate or that the hyperlinks are accurate. Do your own research. As much as you can, verify the source, for example, contact friends to ask them about the post they shared. As deplorable as it sounds, scammers take advantage of disasters, such as this to exploit public sympathy and scam good people trying to help.
-- Donate to charities you know and trust with a proven track record.
-- If you’d like to donate to help the displaced Bonhomme Sailors, Navy officials are directing donors to give to USO San Diego and the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.
Learn more about how to investigate a charity before you give at https://www.ftc.gov/charity. And remember, if you think you have spotted a charity scam, report it to the FTC at https://www.ftc.gov/complaint.