This news item expired on Thursday, July 31, 2014 so the information below could be outdated or incorrect.
For years, scammers have exploited people’s sympathy by setting up fake charities supposedly to help those in need, but these heartless crooks now have a new way to divert donations to their own pockets.
Crowdfunding takes places when someone sets up a way for people to make donations, usually online, for a cause such as helping someone cover hospital bills after an illness or accident. Although many of these efforts are legitimate, hosting websites like Kickstarter and GoFundMe don’t screen those who want to set up a fundraising operation.
These campaigns can be started by people who make up a fake tragic story to swindle you out of your money. Sometimes the tragic story is real, but the person raising the money is completely unknown to the victims and their families. North Carolina law requires that a charity get permission before fundraising in a person’s name.
To avoid getting pulled into an illegitimate crowdfunded project, know who and what you’re really donating to before you donate. You can learn more about crowdfunding from the Better Business Bureau. Report potential scams to the Attorney General’s office by calling 1-877- 5-NO-SCAM or filing a complaint at www.ncdoj.gov, where you can also find more tips on giving to charity.