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GoFundMe creates verified fundraising hub for upstate limo crash victims

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood said Friday the hub features 12 campaigns that the company has verified are legitimately benefiting the families.

Mourners seen Monday at the site of the

Mourners seen Monday at the site of the fatal limousine crash in upstate Schoharie. Photo Credit: Getty Images/Stephanie Keith

New Yorkers looking to support the families affected by the deadly upstate limousine crash can find verified fundraising campaigns in a new hub set up by GoFundMe.

The Oct. 6 crash in Schoharie County, near Albany, killed 20 people, including all 18 in the limousine and two pedestrians who were struck by the vehicle, officials said.

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood said Friday the hub features 12 campaigns that the company has verified are legitimately benefiting the families.

As of Saturday morning, more than 6,000 donors had contributed more than $367,000 to the campaigns, according to GoFundMe.

The hub (gofundme.com/cause/schoharie-crash) was created after conversations between the attorney general’s office and GoFundMe about ensuring proceeds went to victims'  beneficiaries, officials said. The hub is part of the crowdfunding site’s efforts to limit fraud and give would-be donors greater confidence in their contributions.

Major news events can bring out fraudsters looking to capitalize on tragedy, a growing problem consumer advocates call “crowdfrauding,” officials said.

GoFundMe has created similar hubs for other accidents, disasters and acts of violence that brought a surge in donations, including Hurricanes Harvey and Maria and the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. GoFundMe typically maintains contact with local nonprofits, government officials and campaign beneficiaries to verify the campaigns.

Still, officials in New York said Friday consumers should evaluate campaigns carefully before donating.

The attorney general’s office recommends researching groups that are collecting money to make sure they’re legitimate and to ensure campaigns are specific about how the funds will be used. It should be clear who the recipient is and whether they are involved, and how the funds will get to them.

More information about verification is available at GoFundMe.com and charitiesnys.com.

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