DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The Better Business Bureau is warning of charity scams following the Notre Dame Cathedral fire in Paris on Wednesday that incinerated one of the most famous and beloved buildings in the world.
The French government told the Associated Press on Thursday nearly $1 billion had been raised to rebuild the Cathedral ranging from corporate magnates to ordinary citizens.
John North, President of the Better Business Bureau of Dayton, said with tragedies the magnitude of the cathedral fire or natural disasters, it’s best for donors to wait before donating.
“The best thing to do right now is to wait and see what’s going on,” North said. “(Then) find legitimate organizations that are working to raise money to redevelop the structure, then decide how much of your personal money you want to donate to this particular cause.
“If you get a telephone call from someone who claims to be raising money for this cause, I’d be very skeptical.”
People shouldn’t click links in emails soliciting for donations, even if the email appears to be from someone you know or from an email address you recognize. Most likely, these links will download Malware to your computer that allows access to personal information.
“Fortunately, and unfortunately, Americans open their hearts and open their wallets to worthy causes,” North said. “That’s where a fraudster comes in and takes advantage of that generosity. If you aren’t doing your homework, if you aren’t doing your research, you are setting yourself up to be possibly scammed.”
The French Ministry of Culture named four existing entities in France accepting donations to reconstruct Notre Dame.
The French government plans to create two funds – one for French donations and another for international donations – to contribute to reconstruction.
In a press release, the Better Business Bureau said Americans looking to make a tax-deductible gift should contribute to a charity based in the United States.