By Jacqueline Quynh

Hollywood, Fla. (CBSMiami) – It’s the unfortunate reality these days, fake crowdfunding pages will go up along with legitimate ones. CBS 4 found multiple pages created for fallen Hollywood Officer Yandy Chirino Thursday morning, but there’s only one official page, this one.

CBS4 contacted Hollywood Police about the pages, they said the family confirms they’re only in contact with organizer, Jovany Coronado. In addition, they say, watch out for potential fake accounts, because unfortunately, it happens all the time.

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GoFundMe also told CBS4, “In this case, we have seen multiple fundraisers in response and we’ve reached out to all organizers to better understand their connection to the Chirino family.”

“A red flag that we do see though is if there are only 1 or 2 donations,” David McClellan, SocialCatfish.com CEO said.

McClellan’s company tracks scams and helps verify if someone is real online.

“One of the things you can do with a Gofundme page, typically they’ll have an image and you can run on that image, and see where that image is across the internet,” he explained.

Sometimes, a reverse image search will expose other GoFundMe pages that clone a real one, that’s when users need more research. It can be as simple as making a phone call to ask.

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“You can always call the police department and say hey is there a way we can verify this is actually going to that person?” McClellan pointed out.

While GoFundMe has its own verification process to start a page, it’s not a guarantee it will stop all criminals.

“I know Surfside was one of the things we looked into there were 21 pages that were reported.”

People have been arrested for crowdfunding scams, but after a campaign ends, it’s hard to recoup the money, the agencies handling the investigation also changes. It’s handled by the FBI rather than local police agencies.

“Any type of crime where someone’s actually pulled money out, you can report it to Internet Crime Complaint Center that’s run by the FBI.”

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There’s really no one easy way to tell if a crowdfunding site is being run by an imposter, so the general advice is to do some digging before you give, and check for alternative ways to help.

Jacqueline Quynh