It is not unheard of for scammers to copy legitimate crowdfunding campaigns and duplicate them for their own purposes. For example: This dude Natale Manzo copied a cancer patient’s Youcaring campaign word-for-word, gave the supposed beneficiary a new name, and off he went trying to scam money from unsuspecting donors. And back in August, a UK mom discovered a scammer using photos of her daughter with leukemia to dupe people into donating to a Disney trip via a fraudulent GoFundMe campaign.
Now, Savannah Shaffer of New York state says scammers have stolen not only her legitimate GoFundMe campaign but her identity as well. Her 16-year-old cousin Niko Dinovo was badly burned in a car wreck last Friday, and the community of Colonie has rallied together in support. Of course, this means scumbags are also prowling around trying to make a dime.
In this particular case, it seems they made a copy of Savannah’s Facebook page and are using it to reach out to people she knows to fool them into donating to a phony campaign.
THIS OTHER FACEBOOK ACCOUNT IS NOT ME. From my knowledge it, along with their fraud GoFundMe page, has been takin down. I have not and will not make any other Facebook accounts, nor would I ever personally message anybody trying to convince them of a donation. My family thanks everybody from the bottom of our hearts for all of the love and support that you’ve shown for Niko, as well as our family as a whole and it breaks my heart knowing that somebody is trying to use a 16 year old kid, my baby cousin, who is currently fighting for his life, in an attempt to put money in their pocket. Again, this is my ONLY account and there is ONLY ONE GoFundMe page in Niko’s honor.
Savannah included screenshots of a message from the fake account in her warning.
The campaign and fake Facebook page have since been removed. We’ve reached out to Savannah and will update if we can get in touch with her; in the meantime, you can donate to the family’s authorized GoFundMe campaign here. $32k has been raised so far as of press time.
Remember: scampaigners often message potential victims asking for donations, sometimes — as in this case — they appear completely legitimate. Do your due diligence before handing over your hard-earned money.