Crowdfund with caution: fees, fraud and clawbacks among risks of raising money online
RCMP urges would-be donors to watch for fraud
From $63,000 for an education fund for three children who tragically lost their father, to thousands of dollars to cover medical expenses, crowdfunding has helped many people in the North.
Websites like Gofundme are booming in popularity. Campaigns in the Northwest Territories have raised more than $100,000 for people in need.
But police say people should be cautious of the risk of internet fraud.
"Investigations involving the internet can typically be difficult because of the anonymity that the internet affords to people," said Cst. Jack Keefe of the Yellowknife RCMP.
"It's sometimes difficult for police to determine the identity of the person or persons that have committed the offense, as well as determining their location."
Keefe said there have been no reports of crowd-funding fraud in the territory. But RCMP in Alberta are investigating a case where the person who was raising money for a widow and her two children allegedly never handed the money over.
Keefe urged people to research who's running the campaign before they hit the donate button.
The services also don't come free. In Canada, Gofundme charges a 7.9 per cent fee on fundraising totals. Competing website Indiegogo charges a similar 8 per cent.
And in the Northwest Territories, any donation of over $1,200 in one year counts as income and will be clawed back from social assistance.