RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Crowdfunding is a highly popular way these days to raise money for worthy causes. But how can you tell if the fundraising campaign is legit?
A Richmond super sleuth is doing her part to help ferret out the phonies.
“Anybody can create a fundraiser for any reason, and you really have no way of knowing unless you personally know that person, you don’t really know how legit it is,” explained Adrienne Gonzalez, who polices crowdfunding sites
Gonzalez’s website, GoFraudMe, is filled with stories of bogus money raising campaigns across the country. The work usually starts with a tip about someone’s effort to capitalize on the generosity of strangers.
“It’s a lot of people who feel they’ve been ripped off, or they have a family member that is using go fund me to rip other people off,” Gonzalez told 8News Reporter Kristin Smith. “And they don’t want people doing that or they want justice.”
Her mission started after Gonzalez discovered a GoFundMe campaign that just didn’t seem right. So now she’s trying to make it safer for generous people who want to give.
“I believe in the goodness of crowdfunding,” she said. “I believe that it’s a great tool. I just want people to be safe. I don’t want people to throw away their money. I want people to be skeptical, but I also don’t want people to close their heart and say no I’m not giving to anything ever.”
Gonzalez adds there’s no way to be 100% sure if a crowdfunding campaign is on the up and up. She explains that if you know the person who needs the money, that’s a good start. But when it comes to helping out a total stranger, Gonzalez suggests you do your own research.