JFC. Why? Why do people do this? Here I had this awesome day with an awesome hike in not-so-awesome weather and settled down to sip on a yummy Sierra Nevada Torpedo which I’m sure I earned, only to be alerted to this campaign.
The campaign says it belongs to Jen Bolen, however this ‘Jen Bolen’ hasn’t been Facebook verified, so really it could be anyone. Add to that, the real Jen Bolen is the mother of a 14-year-old girl in Appleton, WI who suffers from incurable Spinal Muscular Atrophy, and recently announced she is choosing to end her life on her terms. Her mother put up a GoFundMe campaign — which is Facebook verified — to throw her daughter a prom before she goes; that campaign has raised over $35k to date.
It seems to us that the real Jen Bowen is entirely unrelated to the Jen Bowen who started this sketchy fundraiser, possibly because scammers are lazy as fuck and just comb headlines like a Google bot in order to cobble together their obvious scams.
Fake ‘Jen’ writes in their plea for $15k:
One San Antonio couple were confirmed killed in the crash of a hot air balloon Saturday outside Lockhart, while another husband and wife from San Antonio were feared dead.
A hot air balloon crash in Texas killed sixteen people yesterday. One of my oldest friends was among them,” Dr. Richard Mark Huffman, an anesthesiologist, wrote about Sunday. “She was perpetually cheerful, and I do mean perpetually; as much as is humanly possible, she exuded nonstop joy.
“She loved books. She loved tacos (but who doesn’t?). She loved her family, including Matt, her husband of less than a year, who was also one of the balloon’s passengers, and she loved an enormous number of friends, many mutual, all of whom are grieving terribly.”
Matt Rowan, a 2004 Texas A&M University graduate, had only recently been promoted to chief over clinical trials for burns and trauma at Brooke Army Medical Center’s Institute of Surgical Research in San Antonio.
Rowan had been a post-doctoral researcher at ISR since 2014, and before that did his a fellowship at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. Sunday Rowan, whose maiden name was Stewart, worked at Crazy 8, a clothing store, a job she had taken earlier this year.
The text of the GoFundMe campaign is mostly taken word-for-word from this San Antonio Express-News report.
The fundraiser makes no mention of the campaign owner’s relation to this couple. Just, you know, send money.
This Facebook profile shared the campaign in numerous GoFundMe campaign sharing groups, however as of press time those posts have been deleted, as well as any mention of the obviously scammy fundraiser on his page. This may or may not have something to do with the fact that the GoFraudMe readership is all over the campaign asking what connection the person who started the campaign has to the deceased couple.
The campaign is still up, however I wouldn’t expect it to be up for long. Here’s an archived copy and HEY, good job preventing fraud on your platform, GoFundMe! Don’t worry, we’ll be over here doing all the work for you. It’s not like we have IPAs to enjoy after busting our ass on the trail this afternoon or anything. You should really pay us for this important service we’re offering to you so that you can maintain your “less than one tenth of one percent” claim. Muah.
Update: Holy crap, this is definitely some kind of record. Not TEN MINUTES after this article went up, the campaign was removed from GoFundMe. Run, bitch, run, we’re watching!
Hey, while we’re at it, GoFundMe, are you going to provide IP and registration information to authorities on campaigns like this, or are you just going to continue to pretend as though this doesn’t happen? Inquiring minds would loooove to know.
Update update: It appears the same ‘Gregory Hunter’ who shared the campaign for the San Antonio couple also shared a campaign that is copied word-for-word from the real Jen Bolen campaign for her dying daughter. Unlike the San Antonio one, that one has actually raised $200.
- Here is the fake campaign. Report the shit out of it.
- Here is the real campaign for Jerika Bolen, leave it alone.
- And here is an archived copy of the fake campaign. Save it in your records or something.
GET ‘EM. Again, I’d like to congratulate GoFundMe for the good work they do preventing fraud on their platform. Not.