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  • Sara Doan, Northeast Arkansas News

How to spot phony disaster relief fundraising drives

NORTHEAST, Ark- The Arkansas Better Business Bureau is urging residents to do research before clicking enter and sending a donation, as criminals claiming to be impacted by the recent tornadoes are hoping to profit off your generosity.

“What you want to do is really look for deviations in what you already know. Especially if it’s a well-known charity,” said Arkansas BBB director of communications, Cara Carlin. “So, is the logo slightly off, does it look a little cheap on the website? Is the website different than the last time you visited?”

Carlin says when in doubt, call their office, phone a friend, or going directly to the organizations website to donate.

Criminals know how to grab your attention. Carlin says this is nothing new to the BBB.

“Look alike charity appeals. When a scammer [imposter] a well-known organization: it could be the [American] Red Cross or a local food bank. We’ve had reports of this happening everywhere in the past in text messages, emails, websites, social media apps.”

Countless fundraising drives have popped up. Many on the popular crowd-funding site GoFundMe.

The site launched a centralized hub to connect people with those impacted in Wynne and central Arkansas.

“GoFundMe is a BBB accredited platform. They’re doing great things in that space working with BBBs to protect donors on their platform.”

Arkansas BBB has also received reports surrounding phony grant opportunities for those impacted by the storms.

“Once the area has been declared a disaster zone, all these opportunities for funding come about for business and for consumers to try and rebuild."

"And people have been reporting some suspicious activity in that area as well as people going door-to-door and clicking on things, and it just doesn't seem to be real. So, same thing with grants you want to research and go to the source,” said Carlin.

If you would like to donate to those impacted by the recent tornados, you can click the link below.


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