Calls for a crackdown on fake crowdfunders
Monday, 14th October 2019 at 5:20 pm
One of Australia’s largest crowdfunding platforms is calling for the fundraising industry to fight scams together
A lack of donor protections on crowdfunding websites could see a drop in charity trust levels, a major crowdfunding platform warns.
The warning from GoFundMe comes after a fake page was set up by scammers on rival platform GoGetFunding, to raise money for the funeral of Ivan Susin, a Brazilian man who died after allegedly being punched outside a kebab shop on the Gold Coast.
On Sunday, Ivan’s sister, Joseane Susin, posted to Facebook warning friends and family to stay away from the fake fundraiser.
The GoGetFunding page is still active and has received one $10 donation so far.
Nicola Britton, GoFundMe Australian regional manager, said the online fundraising industry needed to step in immediately to stop scammers “running riot” on their sites.
She said while GoFundMe had protocols in place to make sure fake pages were shut down quickly, this wasn’t the case for all platforms.
“Family members are seeing these pages left up there for quite a while and there doesn’t seem to be the kind of system in place where you can report the pages and get them taken down quickly,” she told Pro Bono News.
The scam comes weeks after the family of 11-year-old girl Abbey Forrest, who died in a road accident in Western Australia, fell victim to a similar scam on GoGetFunding.
Fundraising pages were set up by a single user pretending to be two different Forrest family members. The pages received four donations totalling $170.
A GoGetFunding spokeswoman told WA Today that the fundraisers had been taken down quickly, and the users had been deleted and banned from the site.
Britton said while technology had opened up new opportunities for fundraising, the industry needed to come together to make sure donors were protected.
“We can embrace technology to support personal and charitable fundraising, but my concern is that this isn’t protected and we don’t align as an industry,” she said.
“The entire industry needs to step up to the mark to protect donors, otherwise all companies will be tarred with the same brush.”
Pro Bono News reached out to GoGetFunding for comment but did not receive a response.