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Wait before you donate: BBB warns scammers could take advantage of Notre Dame fundraising efforts

Last Updated Apr 17, 2019 at 8:54 am PDT

(iStock Photo)

BBB urges you to be aware of potential scams in wake of Notre Dame Cathedral fire

BBB recommends waiting for official fund, charities to be set up before donating to Notre Dame rebuild efforts

Make sure you know where your money is going, do your research before donating: BBB

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Almost $1-billion has already been donated to help rebuild one of the world’s architectural marvels after a devastating fire earlier this week, but the Better Business Bureau is warning you to wait if you want to help with the reconstruction of Notre Dame.

The reason? The BBB doesn’t want you to fall victim to a scam.

“Scammers will be looking for opportunities to prey on people’s generosity, and the Notre Dame Cathedral is a perfect pick,” the BBB’s Karla Davis explains. “That’s why we’re encouraging the public to wait until an official rebuilding fund or some form of official charity for the rebuilding efforts has been established.”

She notes scammers are always looking for “what’s trending in the news,” and adds the devastating fire at the Paris cathedral has impacted people across the world.

Waiting until an official fund or charity is set up also has some other benefits.

Davis says donations are more likely to be tax-deductible if you donate through a registered charity based in Canada.

“Once a charity has been established, there’s a possibility that they will have something official for people living in Canada. If that has been officially set up and is properly registered as a tax-exempt organization — like a charity — it is possible that you could get some form of tax-deductible refund when you’re submitting your tax returns next season.”

If you choose to donate now, Davis says there are a few things you can look for to make sure your money doesn’t end up in the hands of a fraudster.

“Generally speaking, when you’re donating towards a charity, you want to know you’re donating to the right organization. So first and foremost, you want to get the charity’s exact name and exact details about the charity you’re supporting,” she explains.

That includes making sure you’re sending your money to the right place. Davis says it’s wise to check where the charity is located, how to contact them, as well as how they’re connected to the rebuilding effort and how they plan to ensure your money gets there.

“You also want to know the facts behind what took place, the reason why this charity is even set up,” she adds.

Know the facts, and if someone tells you something that didn’t happen, you may want to rethink your donation to them.