Donating to an online fundraiser? Here’s how to make sure you don’t get scammed

Know who your money is going to

There are some things you need to know before you donate to online fundraisers.

OXFORD, Mich. – Before you make a donation online, you should be certain that money is going to the people you intended.

In just a matter of days, people have been offering emotional and financial support to the people of Oxford.

Four students were killed, six students and a teacher were injured when a shooter opened fire at Oxford High School.

Online fundraisers have been created, including GoFundMe pages that claim to be supporting the Oxford community. The Better Business Bureau wants people who want to donate to take some steps to make sure the fundraiser is legitimate.

“You’ll see nonprofits that just pop up overnight. Well, if you couldn’t find any information about that nonprofit prior to whenever the event happened -- then that’s a huge red flag,” Laura Blankenship with the BBB said.

Make sure you know who created the account, where the money is going and how much of the money is going to the victim.

“We have to be very careful. Make sure you’re looking up the name of the organization, make sure you’re seeing whether or not there’s a presence on the ground in the area that they say that they are helping,” Blankenship said. “While those crowdfunding sites do a very good job of making sure that the money goes to the campaign organizer that does not mean that the organizer knows the people that it says it’s going to.”

If you want to help, you should consider contacting local churches in the area, some are working with families. Another option is to donate blood as supplies are still low and trauma situations reveal the need still exists.

If you spot a charitable scam you should contact the BBB and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Read: More Help Me Hank coverage


About the Authors:

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.