The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has issued a warning about fundraising campaigns to rebuild the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
French President Emmanuel Macron has promised to rebuild the 850-year-old church, which was devastated by flames on Monday, and dozens of fundraising campaigns have been launched to assist.
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Many French corporations and billionaires have already pledged millions to save the building.
The BBB is asking people to “wait to donate” to ensure donations are going to the official Notre Dame rebuilding fund.
“Scammers are opportunists, and they will take advantage of whatever is in the news,” Art Taylor, president and CEO of BBB Wise Giving Alliance, said in a statement.
“We expect to see Notre Dame fundraising appeals on social media and crowdfunding sites. Some will be from well-intentioned people who are not directly involved with the cathedral, but some may be from scammers.”
Taylor also notes if Canadians wait to donate to a charity based in Canada — rather than through another individual, a crowdfunding site, or a foreign entity — it’s more likely their donations will be tax deductible.
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Nearly $1 billion has already poured in from ordinary worshippers and high-powered magnates around the world to restore the fire-ravaged cathedral.
Presidential cultural heritage envoy Stephane Bern told broadcaster France-Info on Wednesday that 880 million euros (USD $995 million) has been raised in just a day and a half since the fire. Contributions came from near and far, rich and poor — from Apple and magnates who own L’Oreal, Chanel and Dior, to Catholic parishioners and others from small towns and cities around France and the world.
The French government is gathering donations and setting up a special office to deal with big-ticket offers.
— With files from The Associated Press
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