With a reported 1 in 4 victims of the Las Vegas Massacre lacking health insurance you may see a slew of GoFundMe page popping up over the coming weeks. Fiduciary Financial Planner David Rae sits down the KTLA morning news crew to discuss How to Spot GOFUNDME Scams and what to do it you have been had.
By David Rae Certified Financial Planner™, Accredited Investment Fiduciary™
The good news is that GoFundMe fraud is relatively rare. According to the site around 0.1% of pages are found to be fraudulent. All the same if you are like me you want to help the victim, and when giving generously want to make sure the money is getting where it is supposed to go- to help the victims. The “official” gofundme.com page for the Las Vegas Massacre has been shared nearly 300,000 over the past few day, so I am not alone in wanting to help.
Scammers tend to come out of the woodwork after a major catastrophe like Houston, Florida, Puerto Rico and Las Vegas. Take the following steps to avoid being victimized by heartless scammers.
-Be cautious when pages don’t provide verifiable information. While many people might feel ashamed to reach out for help- not using their name or image is a big red flag. Also, be wary when their suffering is vague. You don’t need to see doctor’s records, but what will the money be used for? Who will it be going to etc.
-Google is your friend. A reverse google search just takes a few seconds so easy even grandma can do it. If you’re using Chrome, just right click the main photo on the GoFundMe page and select “Search Google for image.” If the image has been used bunch of place a scammer may have stolen it off the internet. Also, if the image pops up elsewhere with a different name you may be seeing a fraudulent page.
-Check Facebook and other social media. Some scammers take the step of setting up fake social media accounts. If they don’t have much in the way of connection pictures etc. it may be a fake account. Also, if someone claims to have been shot in Vegas but are posting pictures from the beach in Hawaii, sound the alarm.
-If you aren’t sure a page is legit, don’t hesitate to reach out to contact the user. Just click on the little green envelope on the GoFundMe page and ask some questions. Scammers may not respond.
Better safe than sorry. When in doubt donate to a national charity which will be helping the victims as well. On that note keep in mind that GoFundMe “donations” are likely not tax deductible. This probably won’t change your desire to help, but as a Financial Planner is something I thought I should point out.
Live for Today, Plan for Tomorrow.
DAVID RAE, CFP®, AIF® is a Los Angeles-based retirement planning specialist with DRM Wealth Management. He has been helping friends of the LGBT community reach their financial goals for over a decade. He is a regular contributor to the Advocate Magazine, Investopedia and Huffington Post as well as the author of the Financial Planner Los Angeles Blog. Follow him on Facebook or via his website www.davidraefp.com
How to Spot GoFundMe Scams and What to Do With FinancialPlannerLA.com, David Rae Originally appeared live on the KTLA Morning News.