KNOXVILLE (WATE) – There are more than a thousand GoFundMe and other crowdfunding sites to help people who lost everything in the Gatlinburg wildfires. How do you know you’re giving to someone who really needs it?
GoFundMe advises to only give to people you know and trust. There are some red flags you can look for.
One GoFundMe page that has exceeded its $10,000 goal by more than $2,000. It’s for Melissa Dove, a mother of two who lost her home and everything in it. Her longtime friend Jeni Yielding from the Chattanooga area is organizer of Dove’s page.
I looked up Yielding and Dove on Facebook. Dove and I have mutual friends I know and trust. This effort is the real thing.
In fact, it was another Facebook check that ended up with a GoFundMe page being shut down today. It was called “Gatlinburg Rebuild” with a $10,000 goal. It got a lot of complaints on Facebook from people who claim friends have been ripped off in the past on construction jobs by the couple that set it up.
GoFundMe says to look for pages like the one for Melissa Dove, where the organizer has posted a lot of details in the story of the woman she is trying to help.
If you feel that your donation was misused or that the organizer of the campaign you donated to has committed fraud, you may qualify for protection under the GoFundMe Guarantee. You can also report fraud to the National Center for Disaster Fraud at 866-720-5721 or by email to email@example.com.