There are over 2,000 Crowd Funding sites on the internet, and the Better Business Bureau has been busy fielding complaints from individuals who have contributed online.

BBB spokesman Dan Buchta said contributors are complaining that they are not receiving what they were promised from the recipient of their Crowd Funding contribution.

"People make an investment of $50 or $100 dollars, hoping to receive something in return," Buchta began. "However, they go online to check the status of the project and find that they're giving to a campaign that's really just helping to fund someone's lifestyle, and that money is just going into someone's pocket."

Buchta said the BBB advises potential contributors to take certain steps to protect themselves.

"Look for current and ongoing updates," Buchta said. "Make sure they have a presence on Linked In or Facebook. Read the fine print before you donate to make sure you are fully informed about the project. Check court documents to ensure the organization or individuals don't have a criminal record, and also, don't just assume that your contribution will be tax deductible.

"While there are some charities that are funded through these Crowd Funding sites, a lot of them are just business projects and the money you're giving is not tax deductible," he said. "You're basically just making a business investment."

Buchta encourages a visit to the BBB website for more tips, or call 406-303-3296.

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