After the news of yesterday's explosion in Evansville, many across the community are ready to open their hearts, and their wallets to offer aid, but how do you safeguard yourself from having your generosity taken advantage of? The Tri-State Better Business Bureau has some tips to help protect you from scammers.

Third Largest City, #1 Biggest Heart

Evansville may be the third largest city in the state of Indiana, but when it comes to opening our hearts and giving to others in need, no one does it better. No doubt, when we heard the news of the explosion that claimed the lives of three people and damaged several surrounding homes, many of us were more than ready to pitch in to help.

August 10th Explosion

On Wednesday, August 10, 2022, news broke of the explosion in the 1000 block of North Weinbach in Evansville. As the day moved on, photos and videos of the aftermath began to circulate. We have since learned that three people were killed in the blast, fourteen families have been displaced from their homes, dozens of homes were damaged and eleven of those homes sustained enough damage to render them uninhabitable, according to Tristate Homepage.

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Calls to Action

As you can imagine, the devastation from the blast has left several families literally homeless with nothing more than the clothes on their backs at the time of the explosion. It has also been a call to action for those who want to help. There are a number of crowdsourcing campaigns started to help several of the families impacted, but the Tristate Better Business Bureau warns that may not be the best way to help. In fact, you could be at risk of falling prey to scammers.

Crowdsourcing Safety

Keep in mind that most people that launch crowdsourcing fundraisers truly want to help. However, not everyone has good intentions and the Better Business Bureau suggests you do your due diligence before making a donation through crowdsourcing sites like GoFundMe and others.

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 also find out about transaction fees and other specifics.

Other Factors To Keep In Mind

They say you should be aware of "vague appeals" that do not clearly identify how the funds will be used. The Better Business Bureau advises that another potential concern for those who want to help is that their donations through crowdsourcing sites are not considered to be tax deductible in the United States, citing page 7 of IRS Publication 526. Another thing to be mindful of is whether or not there are multiple crowdsourcing fundraisers set up for the same person or family.

So What Is The Best Way to Give?

The Better Business Bureau says that if you'd like to help tragedy victims, the most prudent way to do that is by making your donations to well-known, reputable charities and organizations.

As always, we remind donors to check out charities by visiting BBB.org to verify if the charity meets the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability. For additional donation advice, visit the website of BBB Wise Giving Alliance at Give.org, the standards-based charity evaluator.

Verified Charitable Organizations

If you wish to ensure that your donation is going to an accredited BBB organization and that you will be allowed to claim it as a tax deduction, you may want to donate to one of these local organizations:

Southwest Indiana Chapter of the American Red Cross 

Evansville-Area Salvation Army

United Way of Southwestern Indiana

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