Disasters like Hurricane Harvey bring out the best of people. We've seen that dozens of times this week as people rescue and help victims of the storm. It also brings out the worst in people as scammers see disasters as an opportunity to take money from people who want to help.
As with recent tragedies get ready to see scams across social media and in e-mails. In the past some scammers have taken to the crowdfunding site GoFundMe to try and trick people into sending them money. Earlier this year following the bombing at a concert in Manchester a scammer built a GoFundMe campaign, posing as the father of a victim. The scammer asked people to help him pay for funeral expenses for his daughter who was killed
She later saw the campaign and stated she was alive and well and not even in attendance.
The website www.gofraudme.com compiles reports of fake GoFundMe campaigns and searches for them as well. They've found cases where scammers will find a verified campaign and copy it, hoping people will send money to the fake one run by themselves.
I reached out to GoFundMe for a response but have not received one (yet) but according to gofraudme, the site did respond to a newspaper story following the Manchester bombing and stated they have emergency procedures in incidents like those where moderators examine every single GoFundMe campaign to verify that it is real.
I searched GoFundMe Tuesday and found over 13,000 campaigns with "hurricane" in the title and browsed through hundreds of those campaigns raising money for victims as well as for people who are trying to help.
GoFundMe, according to its website guarantees money donated to campaigns are safe and that if "anything is not right" donors will receive a full refund
To verify if a GoFundMe campaign is legit, go to www.gofundme.com. A list of verified campaigns are on the homepage and you can also search for the name of the campaign you'd like to support.