Officials warn of GoFundMe scams
As the Sutherland Springs community continues to heal in the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in Texas history, people have opened their hearts and wallets to support the victims and their families. But officials urge potential donors to do their homework before giving their money.
The Texas Attorney General's Office handles charity and nonprofit enforcement. They recommend donors to research the charity or person collecting money, and to avoid ones that do not provide detailed information.
One of the most popular ways people are raising money is by creating a GoFundMe page.
Kori Crow is an Austin woman who created a page on behalf of the First Baptist Church, the church where the shooting took place.
"Cash just seemed the thing they're going to need in the coming days, weeks and months, trying to recover from this," Crow said.
Because Crow created the page on behalf of the church, it is certified by GoFundMe.
Crow tells CBS Austin she has received several calls from donors making sure the page is legitimate.
"I've had several donors call me, email me, message me through the platform, just trying to check up on who I am, and just asking a few questions which I think is wonderful due diligence, I'm happy to answer those questions," Crow said.
One call was from a woman who donated $1,000.
Both the Attorney General's Office and GoFundMe recommend doing this.
GoFundMe officials say it is a good idea to contact the page's creator before donating, and to report the page if they want the website to investigate it. They also say if they find a page misuses donation money, donors are fully protected and will be refunded.
Crow says her original goal was to raise $50,000, but she quickly surpassed that. She raised the goal to $150,000, and has already raised almost $80,000.
"My goal is just to get them as much cash as possible," Crow said.
GoFundMe has created a hub for all of the vetted pages.