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Tips to avoid scams while charitable giving in wake of Chiefs rally shooting

KC Strong at Union Station
Posted at 3:48 PM, Feb 16, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In the wake of tragedies and natural disasters, many reputable organizations launch fundraising campaigns to help those in need.

But there are also con artists who try to exploit people’s generosity.

Amid a deadly mass shooting as the Chiefs Super Bowl celebration was ending, the community has stepped up to raise money for victims impacted.

Charity Watch, the only independent charity watchdog in the country, offers these tips on giving wisely:

  • Do Your Research: Make sure the charity is registered by federal, state, or local authorities. Find out how the charity spends its money. Does the majority of your donation go to the cause or the organization’s leadership? Charity Watch has an online tool where you can review a charity’s track record.
  • Give Directly: Avoid third-party requests for donations you may see on social media or get in the mail. “Just because the charity is legitimate doesn’t mean the person asking for donations is,” Charity Watch warns. Giving directly to the charity also means your donation will be immediately received.
  • Be Wary of Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding campaigns of often done by individuals, who are not subject to filing and reporting requirements. “Donating through a crowdfunding website is not much different than handing cash over to a stranger on the street,” Charity Watch said.
  • Don’t Be Pressured Into Giving: Legitimate organizations don’t use high-pressure tactics to get your donations. If someone does, that’s a red flag.
  • Don’t be Misled By Familiar Sounding Names: Some unscrupulous charges use names that sound like legitimate organizations. If you’re not sure about an organization, ask for information in writing.
  • Keep Records Of All Donations: Never give cash, and don’t give your credit card number to any organization or telephone solicitor you don’t know. Get receipts for all donations.
  • Beware of Emotional Pleas: This is a common tactic. If you receive one, find out how your money will be used and avoid charities that offer vague explanations.

In the Kansas City area, there are several ongoing campaigns.
The United Way of Greater Kansas City and Kansas City Chiefs have partnered for the KCStrong fund to help victims and their families.

The Chiefs donated $200,000 as part of the campaign.

A Lee's Summit print shop is selling t-shirts that range from $20 to $25, with proceeds going to Children's Mercy.