Authorities warn of ‘crowdfunding’ scams

For years, scammers have exploited people’s sympathy by setting up fake charities, supposedly to help those in need. But these heartless crooks now have a new way to divert donations to their own pockets. It’s called crowdfunding.

Rham_PD_logoCrowdfunding takes plea when someone sets up a way for people to make donations, usually online, for a cause such as helping someone cover hospital bills after an illness or accident. Although many of these efforts are legitimate, hosting websites like Kickstart and GoFundMe don’t screen hose who want to set up a fundraising operation.

These campaigns can be started by people who make up a tragic — but fake — story to swindle people out of money. Or sometimes the tragic story is real, but the person raising the money is completely unknown to the victims and their families.

“So far, the Rockingham Police Department has received no reports in the city of scams of this nature,” said Chief Billy Kelly. “We encourage people to be fully aware of who or to what organization they contribute to online or over the telephone. There are many noble and important charities out there and the bad guy snow how to take advantage of someone’s good intentions.”

North Carolina law requires that a charity get permission before fundraising in a person’s name.

To avoid getting pulled into an illegitimate crowdfunded project, know who and what you’re really donating to before you donate.

Within the city of Rockingham, those who feel they might have fallen victim to this type of scam — or any other scam via the Internet, by phone or by email, can contact Det. Sgt. Donavan young at the Rockingham Police Department at 910-895-2468.

In the city of Hamlet, calls should be directed to acting Chief Rodney Tucker at 910-582-2551 and in the county, to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office at 910-997-8283.

If you feel that you have fallen victim to this type of scam, or any other scam whether it be online, on the phone, or by mail, contact Det. Sgt. Donavan Young at the Rockingham Police Dept. at 1-910-895-2468.    

More information can be learned from the Better Business Bureau. Report potential scams to the Attorney General’s office by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or by filing a complaint at www.nc.doj.gov, where eyou can also find more tips on giving to charity.

 

Filed in: Latest Headlines, News, Public safety

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