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Online charity fundraising and fraudulent scams

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Remember the tender story of Katelyn McClure, a young woman stranded in the city one evening after she ran out of gas? She later claimed she was helped by a homeless man, Johnny S. Bobbitt Jr., who used his own money to buy her gas? They became friends, took a photo together, and their story went viral. They started a GoFundMe account that raised over $400,000 with over 14,000 donors. Remember that story? Yeah, turns out it was all a scam. Staged and planned, it was all a fraud. 

Online fundraising can appeal to our kindness and sense of charity. It can also prey on gullibility. We want to believe the people asking for our charitable support are truly deserving, but the truth is, sometimes they are not. Online donating is easy but “easy” creates risk.

Our advise, before you donate to a charity or cause, do a little research. Crowdrise, Facebook, and GoFundMe provide a vehicle to raise money for great causes. Ask yourself, is it a reputable charity? Is it truly a worthy cause? Are the GoFundMe donations really going to what they say it is going to? Is the fundraiser a “middle man”? Sometimes, hitting the breaks and asking some common sense questions will produce insight on what the truth really is. We support your sense of charity but just be mindful that the most heartwarming stories are often times more likely fiction than reality. 

Here’s a link to the full story of McClure and Bobbit from Forbes.

Franz Borghardt