A new Facebook feature designed to ease financial constraints on people in need, could also lead to scams, warns the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau.
In the next few weeks, Facebook users will be able to use the social media site to raise funds for personal needs, similar to that of popular fundraising sites like ‘GoFundMe.’
According to Facebook’s announcement, these personal fundraisers can be for any purpose, including themselves, a friend or someone or something that is not on Facebook, as long as they fit under six specific categories – education, medical, pet medical, crisis relief, personal emergencies or funeral and loss.
“There are many reasons that individuals may need to ask the public for help, and having a tool like this can make the process much easier,” says Dennis Horton, director of the Rockford office of the BBB. “However, just as you would when you make a charitable donation, people who want to give need to take some precautions.”
Horton says those precautions include only donating to users you personally know and trust, verifying that the transaction is secure and when in doubt, to check with friends or associates that the need the page is for actually exists and was posted by someone with the authority to do so.
Facebook does have its own security measures in place. They charge a 6.9% transaction fee for anyone who sets up a donation page plus 30¢ per transaction for fraud protection.