On the surface, GoFundMe is a wonderful and generous initiative that helps those in need get money from others for whatever reason it may be. Unfortunately, there are people out there who took advantage of the charitable website and turned it to a place where they cab run financial scams and ask people for money under false pretenses.
GoFundMe scams are especially common after tragedies, when people are willing to give money to victims of disasters that ruined their lives. With millions of dollars being donated to GoFundMe users throughout America, it's important for you to know how to tell the scammers from people who actually need help:
- Search for images: there are many scammers on GoFundMe that use photos of other people, stock photos or just pictures they found on Google. When you see a new GoFundMe campaign that tou are thinking of donating to, perform a reverse image search on Google to make sure the photo presented to you actually belongs to a person in need and not a scammer who is just out to get your money.
- Read the stories thoroughly: like with online dating sites, GoFundMe scammers provide very little information about their "campaign". When you see a campaign, read the story, and if it's too short, something is fishy. Too many details are also a cause for suspicion, and you should be careful with those ones too, especially if they have information that contradicts news reports.
- Contact the organizer: GoFundMe scammers usually don't respond to people's messages, so if you have any doubts about a certain campaign, try and contact its organizer. If they don't respond, reconsider about giving them your money.
- Check their social media accounts: scammers who try to steal money from people often open fake social media accounts to make themselves look legitimate. When looking at a GoFundMe campaign, try to search for its owner's social media accounts and check out their profiles. If they only have a few friends, a few photos, a relatively new profile, low quality pictures and other indicatives, you may be facing a fake account.
GoFundMe is a great platform that helps people get out of financial strains and difficult situations. Unfortunately, it is also a hot bed for scammers who want to take money from people with good intentions. If want to avoid those scammers lurking in GoFundMe, always make sure to notice the signs listed above, and you will save yourself a lot of grief.