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Choose wisely when donating to help Orlando

Better Business Bureau

As we grieve for the victims and their families of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, we all want to know how we can help. There will be hundreds of individual funds set up on crowdfunding websites, but many of these funds will not be legitimate.

“Unfortunately, when a tragedy like this happens, people take advantage of the outpouring of love and support by setting up fake funds in the names of the victims,” said Tom Bartholomy, president of the Better Business Bureau of Southern Piedmont.

BBB has these tips for how you can give so that your gift goes for the purpose you intend it to go and to the people you intend to receive it:

•  Give to a central fund that has been set up with proceeds going to the families, similar to the “One Boston Fund” that was established after the Boston bombing. Equality Florida has set up a fund at https://www.gofundme.com/2942a444 which has raised $1.4 million in 22 hours.

•   If you are giving to an individual fund set up on a crowdfunding site such as www.gofundme.com, make sure the fund is set up by a family member of the victim instead of by someone who is trying to make money off of this tragedy.

•  Be cautious when giving online. Watch out for spam messages and emails that claim to link to organizations supporting the families. If you want to give to a charity involved in supporting the families and victims, go directly to the charity’s website.

•   Be wary of claims that 100 percent of donations will go to the victims and their families. Despite what an organization might claim, charities have fundraising and administrative costs. Even a credit card donation will involve, at a minimum, a processing fee.

•   Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups. Some charities may be raising money to pass along to other organizations. If so, you may want to consider “avoiding the middleman” and giving directly to those that organizations that will support the victims and their families in Orlando.

•   Give by check or credit card so that you have a receipt for tax purposes.

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