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Last updated: July 03. 2014 2:51PM - 293 Views
Submitted by Better Business Bureau



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You can raise money for just about anything nowadays! Using crowdfunding sites, anyone can ask for donations to fund medical costs, trips, and tuition, to name a few. But if you’re looking to give to a worthy cause, how can you be sure these causes are legitimate?


Sites like Kickstarter, Gofundme, and Giveforward allow anyone to set up accounts to ask for and collect donations for their various causes. Some of the more popular causes include medical expenses such as cancer treatment, college tuition funds, and community service projects. The campaigns are all trying to persuade donors to contribute financially but sometimes there’s no way of knowing if your donation actually goes toward what they’re promising.


To make sure you don’t fall victim to fake charity and crowdfunding scams, follow these tips:


Do your research: If the campaign claims to be an actual charity, (they will specify in the title or description) go to bbb.org to look up their Charity Review. If there isn’t a review, contact your local BBB and a file will be started for the charity in question.


Give to people you personally know: Most often, you can trust someone you know personally. Because these crowdfunding sites let anyone join, you’re not guaranteed any donor safety when you contribute to someone you don’t know.


Read the fine print: Read disclaimers to learn exactly how your money will be used. If there is no explanation, that’s one red flag you know to avoid that charity.


Don’t get caught up in emotions: These campaigns will go to great lengths to sell their cause to generous donors. Don’t be blinded by sob stories. Be smart and give wisely.


And remember, you can only write off the donation on your taxes if you donate to a 501(c)3. Donations to individuals are not tax deductible.


For more information, go to bbb.org or call 1-800-388-2222.


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