Susan Tompor: Fake Facebook fundraiser shocks family with cancer diagnosis

Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Business News

Don't let anyone rush you into contributing money because that's another sign of a scam.

"Don't assume that a request on social media is legitimate, or that hyperlinks are accurate just because a friend posted it," according to an alert by the Federal Trade Commission.

GoFundMe, for example, says it has a contact button for the fundraiser organizer and a "Report Fundraiser" button.

"If you have any questions about the fundraiser, you can easily reach the organizer and ask them directly," according to Ese Esan, a GoFundMe spokesperson.

"In addition, clicking the 'Report Fundraiser' will result in one of our specialists investigating the fundraiser," she said. "We take these reports very seriously, and we will take immediate action if anything is wrong."

Overall, Esan said, the platform is backed by a GoFundMe guarantee, which means funds are guaranteed to go to the right place or the consumer will get a refund.


Since 2010, the GoFundMe platform has been used to raise more than $15 billion from 200 million donations across the world.

But scammers are pretty slick. Back in 2017, a scheme defrauded thousands of people out of $400,000 with a feel-good story that went viral about a homeless veteran and a fictionalized GoFundMe page called "Paying it Forward." In December 2018, GoFundMe announced it would refund the money to those who made donations. Legal action was taken.

Facebook did not respond to questions from the Detroit Free Press about the situation in Troy or its policies.

Facebook lists a form online on "How to report a personal fundraiser fraud on Facebook" and it offers a way online to "Report a suspicious fundraiser."


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