No one wants to question someone’s claims, but the fact that people are reluctant to ask GoFundMe campaign owners if they really have cancer or if their kid is really sick is exactly what scammers count on. They’re appealing directly to that kind part in most of our brains that drives us to generously give to those in need without question, whether that be money or love or the shirt off our back.
It’s entirely reasonable to question a campaign. You don’t need to accuse the campaign owner of fraud to ask a simple question. But one man has learned that even simple questions aren’t necessarily welcome on GoFundMe.
First, let’s catch you up on the story behind the campaign. KFSN Fresno reports:
On Wednesday, a private contractor died when his bulldozer rolled down a canyon. The man has been identified as 35-year-old Robert Reagan of Friant.
In the foothill community of Oakhurst, Reagan and his extended family are well known. Years after he finished high school, teachers and staff at Yosemite High still remember him well.
“Robert was really big into anything that was mechanical. He took auto shop, some of our ROP classes– doing things like that. He was much better with his hands than with school books. That’s what I remember most about him,” said Diane Adney, Yosemite High Vice Principal.
Two days after that tragic event, a man who appears to be Reagan’s brother started a GoFundMe page, which reads:
This fund is set up to assist the family of Robert Reagan, the bulldozer operator who was tragically killed on July 26 while fighting the Sobranes Fire in Monterey County. He leaves behind two young children and a wife. All funds revieved will go directly to his family to aid them as they grieve and memorialize his life.
Now, we have no reason to believe there’s anything wrong with this campaign, and that’s not why we’re discussing it now. We want to talk about how a simple question turned into a full on attack.
I mean, I don’t see anything wrong with that question. Sure, I’m a bitter young asshole and basically assume the worst of all campaigns just because I am mired in this stuff day in and day out, but seriously, that’s not a bad question. In fact, it’s completely reasonable, and I wish more donors would ask questions like that. Campaign owners who are genuine should have no problem answering it, and will not be offended by it either as we all (hopefully) know that GoFundMe fraud not only happens, but happens pretty frequently.
Well, not everyone on the fundraiser agrees with me. In fact, it was open season on poor Mike as soon as he opened his mouth, er, exercised his thumbs.
I bet Linda has given at least one Nigerian prince her bank account information. And no, Mike should not be ashamed of himself for asking a completely valid question. I hope you are ashamed of yourself, Linda.
This right here is how people get scammed. As mentioned above, they don’t want to be that guy who looks like a douche because he asked if a campaign is legit. Thing is, if more people stuck their necks out and asked exactly that, perhaps fewer people would get ripped off by the scammers. Say it with me one more time: you, as a potential donor, ARE ALLOWED TO ASK QUESTIONS. Ignore this glitter-farting Kristen who lives on a planet where people don’t capitalize on others’ tragedies and make shit up on GoFundMe just for a couple bucks.
Reading this wall of text, I get the sense that Jamie actually doesn’t understand at all that people would wonder if this is legit. Again, this attitude is exactly what the scammers are counting on! I mean, what kind of dickhead would dare question a campaign involving children who just lost their father?! Well, Mike, that’s who. Good for him.
By attacking Mike for asking a simple question, these people are basically making the next person who wants to question a campaign that much more afraid to look like the asshole. Which means an even bigger opportunity for people who aren’t on the up-and-up to take advantage of them.
One last time, people: as a potential donor, you are allowed to ask questions. Period, end of story.
Mike ended up apologizing and made a donation. Cheers, pal.
As for the Reagan family, we extend our most sincere condolences.