Generally, when we hear about someone who had their GoFundMe campaign swiped, it’s by someone who turned around and made their own campaign — sometimes using the same exact details as the legitimate one — with a different name. Like the little girl with leukemia in the UK whose mom wanted to take her to Disneyland; brazen idiots stole photos and the story from the original campaign and invented a girl named Katie for their own GoFundMe page. Losers.
This case, however, is a bit different. In some ways, it follows the same pattern as classic internet scams that didn’t involve GoFundMe at all; Nigerian Princes make up some sob story — a U.S. soldier trapped in Afghanistan due to a series of unfortunate events is a popular one — and then spam the crap out of the internet hoping to hook at least a few victims.
The dedicated wife behind a record-breaking crowdfunding campaign fears scammers robbed her critically-ill husband of funds – by CLONING the page.
Kate Brandon, 33, raised a staggering £430,000 in nine days to pay for husband Mike to have pioneering last-ditch treatment in America.
But she believes they could have raised even more had they not been ripped off by fraudsters who put up fake versions of their appeal online.
Crooks used details from her GoFundMe page and set up copycat appeals on sites such as Craigslist and Reddit – but with the donation page linked to their own bank accounts.
Kate’s campaign was the most successful ever in the UK, until it was trumped by a page put up in memory of murdered MP Jo Cox. As such, it’s not that big of a surprise that scammers crawled out from under their rocks to capitalize on its popularity.
According to the campaign, just a month after he proposed Kate’s now husband Mike was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a type of cancer most common in children. A stem cell transplant was his only chance for survival, and Kate set up a social media awareness campaign to encourage people to volunteer for the bone marrow donor registry. Once registered, potential donors are contacted if and when they are found to be a match for a patient in need.
Mike did well after a bone marrow transplant, however his leukemia came back stronger than ever earlier this year, and he needed £400,000 for experimental CAR-T Cell Therapy trials at the University of Pennsylvania’s Abramson Cancer Center.
We’re happy to report Mike’s most recent biopsy in July was clear, thanks to the generosity of 22,000 donors around the world and the work of the UPenn team.
As for the scammers? Cops say they can’t do anything about it, and fake pleas continue to pop up on Reddit, YouTube, and Gumtree (the UK’s Craigslist, if you will).