Attorney General Pam Bondi said her office has found more than 100 sites dedicated to raising money for those affected by the massacre Sunday, and it is possible that all are legitimate.
“We just need to go through each one of them,” she said Tuesday.
“Please continue to help. … However, do your due diligence,” Bondi warned.
GoFundMe spokesman Bobby Whithorne said in a statement that funds raised for Orlando victims or for Equality Florida would “not be released until the recipient is identified, verified and vetted.” He said the company had vetted and was in communication with more than 150 campaigns raising money related to the Orlando shooting.
“If a campaign is flagged as fraudulent or the campaign organizer cannot verify how the funds will be distributed, the funds will not be released until a beneficiary is identified and verified,” Whithorne said. “Additionally, in the rare case that a campaign is fraudulent, donors will be refunded.”
Whitehorne said GoFundMe had already “quickly removed a few campaigns who couldn’t verify the connection to the individual,” and it had a team and technical tools operating around the clock on the matter.
Bondi suggested that those wanting to donate should direct their money to established disaster-relief organizations or those registered with the Florida Department of Agriculture. Anyone with concerns, Bondi said, can call her office at 866-9-NO-SCAM.
City officials on Tuesday revealed a website for the One Orlando Fund, oneorlando.org, to raise and receive money to help those families most affected by the shooting. The Walt Disney Co. has already pledged $1 million to the fund. Disney is a major employer in Orlando.
Bondi declined to comment on the status of the investigation into the shooting, but she said a statewide prosecutor in her office was working closely with law enforcement agencies on what she called a “fluid” case. She said she has been focused on procuring victim-relief funds and assessing whether there might be people out there perpetrating fraud.