Less than a week after the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people and injured about 170, crowdfunding websites have already raised more than $2 million for victims of the attack.
Critics caution that those who wish to donate may be better off doing so to more official organizations, like the recently-established One Fund. Still, more than 23,000 people have pledged money through sites like GoFundMe, GiveForward and YouCaring, which are based on the Kickstarter model of raising money for a specific cause, NBC News reports.
Some victims have funds that have been specifically set up in their honor by friends or relatives. Those include Boston newlyweds Jessica Kensky Downes and Patrick Downes, who each had a leg amputated after the attack, according to NBC. Several friends established funds for the couple on GoFundMe and GiveForward, and more than half a million dollars has been raised thus far to pay for medical care and other expenses.
Though sites like those mentioned above consider themselves "self-policing" and representatives say they don't hesitate to suspend account if something seems awry, fraud experts tell NBC that donors should make sure their money is going to the intended party.
Other individuals and organizations, including the Boston Red Sox, have collected donations for The One Fund, which was established by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino in the wake of the bombings.