Beware Fake Venmo Scams When Donating To Bail Funds

Beware Fake Venmo Scams When Donating To Bail Funds
A protester rises his hands up during a demonstration in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 29, 2020. (Photo: Getty Images/Chandan Khanna)

The Minnesota Freedom Fund, which has been bailing out protesters in Minneapolis, has become a popular cause to donate to this week. Great! But make sure you go to their actual website—and don’t donate to the fake venmo that’s been floating around in their name.

This is good advice for any cause you’d like to donate to: Always check out the organisation you’re donating to and ensure you’ve found the most direct way to contribute.

Find the organisation’s official website or verified social media account

Make sure you’re dealing with the organisation itself. On social media, you can often see who else follows the account. Organisations sharing the same mission will often follow and support each other, and you may also notice trusted friends following the account.

Educate yourself about what they do and what they need

An endorsement from a friend or influencer is great, but it’s always appropriate to inform yourself about the work an organisation does. Make sure that they’re a group you want to support and find out from their website the best ways to support them.

For example, food banks can do more with money than with food donations. Some may point you toward other funds as well. For example, The Minnesota Freedom Fund got so many donations that they are asking donors to share the love, naming several other organisations that can also use the help right now.

You may also want to check out an unfamiliar organisation on websites like Guidestar or Charity Navigator to ensure they are legit.

Donate in the way they ask for

When you’re ready to give, do it in whatever way the organisation asks. If there’s a big ol DONATE button on their website, that’s your best bet. If they offer multiple options, note whether a certain one is listed as preferred. When in doubt, the most direct option is best.

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