Beware of scammers when donating to Notre Dame relief efforts

Not everyone on the internet has honorable intentions when asking for your money.

Shelby Brown Editor II
Shelby Brown (she/her/hers) is an editor for CNET's services team. She covers tips and tricks for apps, operating systems and devices, as well as mobile gaming and Apple Arcade news. Shelby also oversees Tech Tips coverage. Before joining CNET, she covered app news for Download.com and served as a freelancer for Louisville.com.
  • She received the Renau Writing Scholarship in 2016 from the University of Louisville's communication department.
Shelby Brown
Notre Dame

Make sure your money is going to a reputable fundraiser when donating. 

Lionel Bonaventure / Getty Images

When a crisis happens -- close to home or overseas -- people look for ways to help, whether by donating time, funds or other materials. Relief efforts were quickly underway within hours of last week's devastating fire at Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral.

The Federal Trade Commission released a report on Monday warning of scammers posing as fundraisers and charities. Here are a few things to consider before giving to an organization, according to the FTC :

1. Research the organization

Run a quick search of the charity or fundraiser you want to give to plus the word "scam" or "complaint." The FTC suggests using organizations like BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, CharityWatch and GuideStar to vet the fundraiser you want to donate to.

2. Ask questions

If someone asks you to donate to an organization, don't be afraid to ask for all the details. Then research the organization using the websites mentioned above.

3. Know where the money is going

Along with researching and asking questions, the FTC says online fundraisers should tell you who gets your donation and how the money is getting there. Any part of your donation that is a fee should be disclosed to you, without having to search through the fine print.

4. Donations to foreign organizations aren't always tax deductible

To find out if a donation to a foreign organization is tax deductible, you can check the IRS' Tax Exempt Organization Search. Generally, crowdfunding sites aren't tax deductible, according to the FTC. 

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