LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -The Better Business Bureau has issued a warning about pledging money to try and help rebuild the churches in St. Landry Parish that were burned.
The fires began on March 26 in St. Landry Parish, and within 10 days, three historically black churches were torched in what federal authorities are calling hate crimes.
People across Louisiana have raised almost $2 million for the three churches in a matter of days but the Better Business Bureau has issued a warning about donating.
The BBB wants individuals to “wait to donate.” According to the BBB you should check out the source of the campaign before you donate.
“Scammers are opportunists, and they will take advantage of whatever is in the news,” said Sharane Gott, Better Business Bureau Serving Acadiana President and CEO. “We expect to see fundraising appeals on social media and crowdfunding sites. Some will be from well-intentioned people who are not directly involved with any of the churches, but some may be from scammers. BBB is urging people to check out the source before donating."
Below are some tips from the BBB to help you donate to the right source:
- Be cautious when giving online
- Rely on expert opinion when it comes to evaluating a charity
- Understand crowdfunding
- Be wary of claims that 100 percent of donations will assist relief victims. Despite what an organization might claim, charities have fund raising and administrative costs. Even a credit card donation will involve, at a minimum, a processing fee
- Find out if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the impacted areas
- Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups.