BLACK FOREST, Colo. - Changes have been made to ensure that your donations meant for the Black Forest Fire Department aren't stolen by scam artists.
"An unauthorized Facebook page is one way (stealing) was being done," said Trevor Heaton of Denver-based inCause.com. "The page has been taken down People from as far away as California claimed they were collecting donations."
Last week, Heaton's firm began offering a free service to the fire department. It centralizes the donation process so that a person needs only to visit one website to make a donation. Furthermore, only the fire department has authority to control the process.
Chief Bob Harvey said the department has collected around $50,000 in donations. The money will be used for department operations that were stressed during the Black Forest Fire in June.
"We're a small, rural department with a limited budget," he said. "After a fire of that size, we need to repair or replace damaged equipment, and maybe upgrade in some areas, too."
But with many groups seeking donations for fire recovery, how can you trust where your money goes?
"There's a lot of online resources where you can go, to check the validity of an organization collecting donations," said Heaton. "It's really tough. A lot of times, you have to find (a) company that's trusted. Where you do that, is by finding out who the organization is actually working with."
To make a donation to the Black Forest Fire Department, visit: http://incause.com/profile/black_forest_fire_official.