Another day, another tragedy; this time, devastating floods in Louisiana. Have a look see (aka quick Google) and clearly, GoFundMe is going wild with campaigns. We have no way to know just how many unless we spend the next two days counting them manually which would be a colossal waste of time and frankly not helpful at all. But let’s pull a number out of our butt magic hat and say there are 1000.
Using GoFundMe’s claim that fraudulent campaigns make up “less than one-tenth of one percent of all GoFundMe campaigns,” that means at least one of them is fake. A) how could you possibly know which one and B) we have some serious doubts about that claim but we’ll let that be for now.
Does that mean the number is closer to 10? 100? I don’t feel comfortable making that guess (I can pull only so many numbers out of my butt magic hat in a day), however I do feel the urge to remind everyone that tragedies such as this weekend’s floods in Louisiana are like a gross little petri dish of opportunity for the bottom-feeders who love taking advantage of a good tragedy.
At least four people are dead, 20,000 have been rescued, and officials say it isn’t even over yet. The Nigerian Princes are going to be busy tonight stealing random images of flooding off Google and making up poorly-written sob stories about how they need help.
Now, it’s fair to say that communities are rallying together, and those who did not suffer large losses are certainly willing — if able — to assist their friends and neighbors. Awesome. And no doubt the majority of campaigns for victims of the floods are, in fact, well-intentioned. But we know all too well that there are and will be several that aren’t. The scariest part? Unless you know the campaign organizer and/or the beneficiaries of funds raised, you cannot be sure that you’re donating to the person or cause you believe you are. Truth be told, even if you know the person who started the page you can’t be absolutely sure their intent is good. Sorry, just the nature of the beast.
All that to say, be extra careful. GoFundMe’s own advice is more appropriate than ever here: only donate to people you know. If you’d like to help with gift cards, diapers, pet supplies, just about anything you can imagine including cash, The Times-Picayune has a big ole list of where and what to donate. You’ll note they did include a GoFundMe campaign from the Rho Epsilon chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority; do with that what you will.
It’s also worth reminding everyone that if you are contacted by someone you don’t know to make a donation to a GoFundMe campaign, report it posthaste. Be careful out there, the scumbags are getting increasingly aggressive. Thankfully, they’re usually sloppy too, so if something doesn’t feel right, it likely isn’t.
Stay safe, y’all!