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DEFENDERS: How to safely donate to mass shooting victims

As the cities of Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, mourn the attacks in their communities over the weekend, there are ways Missourians can help and donate. 

The Dayton Foundation has established an Oregon District Tragedy Fund for the victims' families. 

The American Red Cross is accepting donations online. 

Public Good launched a fundraiser benefiting Dayton and El Paso victims. 

El Paso Community Foundation created a fund. 

After a public tragedy such as a mass shooting, scammers often take advantage of moments of vulnerability to deceive donors. There can be campaigns set up that may not directly go to victims connected to the tragedy. 

Here are the top three things the Better Business Bureau and experts say you can do to be on the lookout while searching for a charity. 

1. Make sure the charity is legitimate: Take the time to check out the charity to avoid scammers. You can use accountability websites such as give.org or charitynavigator.org to look into the charities financial documents and ratings on accountability to make sure they are trusted with your money. 

2. Never click on unfamiliar links: Some scammers will create look-alike websites that trick you into believing you are donating to a legitimate organization. By clicking on unfamiliar websites, messages or emails you could be putting your information in the hands of scammers. 

3. Newly created vs. Established Charity: This is personal choice but an established charity will more likely have the capacity and experience to address a large amount of donations. A newly formed organization might be well-meaning but could be difficult to evaluate. 

In addition, be aware of giving through online fundraising campaigns. GoFundMe, a growing avenue for crowdfunding, gives a person a variety of opportunities to give to survivors and victims. Most of them can be well-meaning, but scammers are also on crowdfunding sites. GoFundMe has pledged to protect donations to make sure funds are going to the right place. 

If you have a question or want to know more about a campaign before you donate, you can reach out to the GoFundMe team or campaign organizer. 

ABC 17 News Investigates / News

Deborah Kendrick

Deborah is a weekday morning anchor and investigative reporter for ABC 17 News.

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