BBB warns of illegitimate fundraising campaigns in wake of Deputy Pickett’s death

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LEBANON, Ind.– The BBB Serving Central Indiana is warning community members to be aware of possible illegitimate GoFundMe pages related to fallen Deputy Jacob Pickett.

Sheriff Mike Nielsen posted on the department’s Facebook page Tuesday morning, saying the Boone County Sheriff’s Office is not related to any GoFundMe pages.

“We are currently working on getting a 501C3 set up among numerous banks in the area for people to donate to the Pickett family. In the meantime, you may bring donations into the The Boone County Sheriff’s Office payable to the Jacob Pickett Memorial Fund.”

See the full post below:

Tim Maniscalo, President & CEO of the BBB Serving Central Indiana said anyone can create a GoFundMe page. He said you don’t know who the creators are and where the money is really going.

“Unfortunately, people take advantage of situations like this,” Maniscalo said. “We tend to be a people that want to help others out in a time of tragedy and the scammers know that. They will go ahead and create one of these pages, it’s very easy to do and they will take advantage of the situation. You’ve got to be very careful.”

Maniscalo said if a GoFundMe page has an IRS tax free number, it's a good indication it's a legitimate fundraising campaign. He said it takes about six months for a charity to get an IRS tax free number.

"They may not necessarily be a recognized IRS 501C3 organization, so the money that you give may not necessarily be tax-deductible," Maniscalo explained. "Other than having that IRS tax free number, it's really impossible to determine if it's a legitimate fund and if the funds are going to the mission in which it was intended for."

According to GoFundMe, fraudulent campaigns make up less than one tenth of one percent of all campaigns. Read the full protection policy here.

Sheriff Nielsen also stated in the Facebook post, that the Sheriff's Office will not be soliciting donations through any means.

"If you receive a call, email or any form of solicitation for The Pickett Family, it could be a scam. Please contact the Boone County Sheriff’s Office for anything you would like to give. If you receive any soliciting calls, please call your local police department to make a report."

To donate to the family of fallen Deputy Jake Pickett:

-Bring donations into the Boone County Sheriff's Office: 1905 Indianapolis Ave, Lebanon, IN 46052

-Make checks payable to: Jacob Pickett Memorial Fund

If you wish to bring food, email:

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