Crowdfunding Caution

  
     
February 24, 2015

Crowdfunding is a method of raising money from a large group of people, typically via the Internet. Crowdfunding is most often used to raise money for a creative project, tuition, trips, charity, or to launch a new business or project. There are multiple reasons why a company might start a crowdfunding site, and there are even more reasons why somebody might donate to it. With all of this in mind, know that as the popularity for this method of fundraising increases, so too does the popularity of crowdfunding scams. BBB serving San Diego, Orange and Imperial Counties is here to provide you with tips that may help you avoid crowdfunding scams.

GoFundMe: This website makes it very easy for others to make and receive donations. However, keep in mind that because it’s very user friendly, it’s easier for scammers to find and target victims. For example, a scammer might start an account claiming to raise money for a popular or recent cause, collect the donations, and then close the account without actually donating the money to the respective cause. In order to avoid this, always make sure you are donating directly to the person you know. In addition to that, note that the more information on a website, the better. Links, videos, bios, etc. are all good indictors of a legitimate site.

Do your homework: With con-artists on the prowl, know that there is still a successful way to donate and support a cause without getting scammed- simply do your homework. Research, call, and ask questions. Do whatever you need to do in order to feel confident that your donation will actually go to the cause. In addition, be aware that many people have raised eyebrows about questionable campaigns on both Indiegogo and Kickstarter. If for any reason you encounter a campaign that seems a bit off, put a hold on your donations until you have researched it thoroughly.

How can you spot and prevent falling victim to crowdfunding scams?

  • Pay close attention to campaigns that provide little to no details.
  • Not having links is typically a sign of a fraudulent account.
  • Credible campaigns will usually have a video on the campaign site.
  • Constantly look for updates and account activity.
  • Check to see if others have heard of the cause or concept.
  • Read the fine print. Make sure you know exactly how the money donated will be used.
  • Though it may be challenging, don’t get caught up in emotions. These campaigns will take drastic measures to entice potential donors. Be smart and give wisely.

 

BBB commends your generosity but still encourages your cautiousness. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please give us a call at (858) 496-2131 or visit bbb.org.