Over the weekend, a frightening 12 hour stand off in Palm Springs, CA led to two dead police officers and one suspect — John Felix — in custody. As often happens after well-publicized events such as this, it appears as though some random guy quickly slapped up a pair of GoFundMe campaigns purporting to benefit the families of the fallen officers.
The Press Enterprise reports that two different campaigns started by someone calling himself Sky Sam raised $250 and $290 respectively before they were pulled down by GoFundMe.
You’ll notice the usual statement about how rare fraud is on the platform is now accompanied by a reminder that donors are protected by the brand new GoFundMe refund policy.
“Fraudulent campaigns are very rare, making up less than one tenth of one percent of all GoFundMe campaigns,” said GoFundMe Kate Cichy to the Press Enterprise. “Additionally, our platform is backed by the GoFundMe Guarantee, which means donors are now protected by a refund policy. If something isn’t right, the donor will get their money back. In this case, the campaigns in question have been deleted and the donors have been refunded.”
The Palm Springs Police Officers’ Association has established a fundraising page for Officer Gil Vega and Officer Lesley Zerebny here. Another campaign for Zerebny that states it was established by fellow officer to benefit her surviving husband and child has raised over $68k. Officer Vega was close to retirement, while Officer Zerebny was new to the force and leaves behind a 4-month-old child.
Please use caution donating to any GoFundMe campaigns you may see for these officers’ families, GoFundMe guarantee be damned.