Chattanooga officer warns community of donation scams - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Chattanooga officer warns community of donation scams

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

"I've been fortunate enough to do this for 23 years, been through 9/11 and the outpouring of support. it's different when it's in your hometown," said Charlie Brown, Chattanooga Police Officer. "When you're impacted in that way, the worst feeling in the world is to want to help and not know how."

The tragic event on Thursday has left a mark in the minds and hearts of everyone in the Tennessee valley.

The community has stepped up in a big way to help with many donating to the families.

For Charlie Brown, he's selling bumper stickers. They were donated by Billy-T and Tom’s Sings in Hixson.100 percent of the money from these stickers goes straight to the victims' families. "I had 100 [stickers sell] in ten minutes, that's pretty amazing," said Brown.

But Brown warns people to be wary of people asking for donations. "I know the money is going to go to the right place, sometimes we have people that take advantage of situations, tragedies, hurricanes, what is your money really going to help?" said Brown.

Tim Winsett with the Better Business Bureau says if you're not using a 501c3 charity, then you should be asking questions before forking over cash. "What's very important is accountability and transparency," said Winsett. "How are they going to get that money to the families, what connection do they have?"

To make sure the money you're giving, ends up in the right hands. "In any charitable donation situation, you wanna make sure that your dollar is used wisely and it reaches the objective you're wanting it to reach," said Winsett.

When going to donate: Never click on links to charities on unfamiliar websites, even social media. These may take you to a look-a-like where you could be asked for personal financial information.

Ask questions of what specifically the money is going towards and when the family will receive it.

For more tips on how to protect yourself, click here.

Charities the BBB suggests are:

National Center for Victims of Crime, Nationalcompassionfund.org

The Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga, cfgc.org

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