More than $1 million dollars has been raised for North Texas tornado victims through the crowd funding website Go Fund Me. But not every penny people donate through the website goes to the victim.
“If there is a family you know has been a victim, you should give directly to that family,” said Phylissia Landix of the Better Business Bureau of Dallas,
With Go Fund Me, donations can go directly to the recipient's bank account minus fees that add up to eight percent.
"I don't think that's a good percentage," said tornado victim Andrea Hodson.
Most donors likely don't know about the fees because you would have to read through a large amount of fine print. The Better Business Bureau recommends donors do their homework and beware of scammers.
"There is no one source that's going to tell you whether someone is legitimate or not. It's your own responsibility,” Landix said.
For people like Hodson, with very real stories, the donations are like answered prayers.
Hodson is one of 750 North Texas families devastated by the day after Christmas tornados helped by Go Fund Me. Hodson is a medical assistant raising six year old twins as a single mom and was on a plane to Florida when the tornado hit and cut her trip short.
The day after the tornado, Hodson's cousin asked if she could set up a Go Fund Me campaign on her behalf. She agreed and was floored by the response – 118 donors in just 23 days raised nearly $8,600, well over her goal of $5,000.
"I never imagined the amount or generosity,” Hodson said.
Go Fund Me, a for-profit company, said three percent of its eight percent fee is for processing, but there was no explanation about where the remaining five percent goes.
A company spokesperson does say that it has an anti-fraud team that monitors the site for any suspicious campaigns and removes them immediately.