HELENA – In the wake of recent tragedies, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is cautioning people to take care when making charitable donations.
BBB Montana Marketplace Director Hannah Stiff says, unfortunately, scammers often see tragedy as just another payday.
“Be aware that if somebody reaches out to you before you reach out to them, whether via email or telephone, that could be a scam,” explained Stiff. “So you want to initiate the donation, you want to find the site that represents a charity or a cause that you really care about.”
BBB recommends people to make sure they know who they’re giving to and be wary of vague descriptions of the intended use of funds.
Stiff also cautions about donating to site shared on social media, encouraging people to navigate to those intended sites themselves.
“Just because you see it on Facebook and it seems like a really neat page, be super careful before you give to a cause that might seem legitimate,” said Stiff.
People are recommended to only donate to Trooper Palmer through Montana Highway Patrol shared pages.
As for Notre Dame relief, because the fire was so recent BBB said the best thing right now is waiting to donate.
The Better Business Bureau offers an online tool called Give.org to help people better understand exactly who they’re donating to and report potential scams.
“Head to Give.org and always do your research. It can be a really emotional time when after something tragic and you want to give, but if you take a little bit more time that can mean there won’t be an additional repercussion by getting scammed,” said Stiff.
-John Riley reporting for MTN News