(COLORADO SPRINGS) — The Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Southern Colorado wants to help those who want to support victims of the Club Q shooting avoid being scammed.

The BBB “offers our deepest condolences to those affected by the horrific mass shooting at Club Q this past weekend. Sadly, scammers often take advantage of tragedies or times of uncertainty.”

The BBB is giving this advice to those looking to donate:

  • Donating to Help Colorado Nightclub Shooting Victims  Many generous individuals will be moved to help the victims and families of the horrific shooting that took place this past weekend at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs. BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers the following tips to help make informed giving decisions. 
  • Does the appeal respect victims and their families?  Charitable organizations or crowdfunding postings raising funds should get permission from the families to use either the names of the victims and/or any photographs of them. Don’t assume there is an official connection if photos are displayed. 
  • How will donations be used?  Be cautious about vague appeals that don’t identify the intended use of funds. For example, is money being collected for funeral expenses or other family needs? Also, unless told otherwise, donors will assume that collected funds quickly collected after a tragedy will be distributed or spent just as quickly. 
  • Advocacy Organizations – Tragedies that involve violent acts with firearms can also generate requests from a variety of advocacy organizations that address gun use. Donors can support these efforts as well but note that some of these advocacy groups are not tax-exempt as charities. Also, watch out for newly created advocacy groups that will be difficult to check out. 
  • Tax Deductibility  Contributions that are donor-restricted to help a specific individual/family are not deductible in the U.S. as charitable donations, even if the recipient organization is a charity. See IRS Publication 526, page 7, for more information on this subject.
  • Crowdfunding advice  Crowdfunding has become so popular that it is not unusual for fundraising to start within hours after a tragedy has occurred. Please keep in mind that while some crowdfunding sites take precautions in carefully screening, vetting, and managing postings after a tragedy, others might not. If unsure, review the posting procedures described on the crowdfunding site and find out about transaction fees and other specifics.  

“As always, we remind donors to check out charities by visiting Give.org to verify if the charity meets the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability,” the BBB said. The BBB recommends the Colorado Healing Fund and Inside Out Youth Services as locally focused ways to help.

The BBB helps consumers “find businesses, brands, and charities they can trust. It serves 25 counties throughout Southern Colorado.”