Avoiding GoFundMe fraud

You Probably Don’t Want to Donate to These Sketchy Reality Winner GoFundMe Campaigns

Reality Winner GoFundMe

Despite the fact that campaigns for “the defense or support of anyone alleged to be involved in criminal activity” are forbidden by GoFundMe terms and conditions, at least one campaign is chugging right along. It was taken down briefly yesterday, but popped back up after a tweak of language. As of this moment, it has raised over $9000. But we’ll get to that in a minute.

25-year-old NSA contractor Reality Winner is accused of leaking classified information on Russian election tampering to The Intercept, and sloppily at that. This revelation was nothing new, the CIA already publicly announced it months ago. Still, that didn’t extend Winner the freedom to distribute classified information to the media, hence why she got arrested this past Monday.

Now, some Americans are calling her a hero, while others believe she is a traitor. We’re not here to debate that, what we are here to talk about is the GoFundMe campaigns with her name attached to them.

Back to those GoFundMe terms and conditions. Winner is accused of “removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet” and currently being held at a federal facility. In other words, a crime.

GoFundMe terms and conditions crime

A campaign started by Shirley J. Fink [archive here] reads:


It is a Difficult time for Reality Winner and her family. Please show your love and support with kind messages and a monetary donation if you feel led to do so.

This is a time to come together and unite in peace and hope and show the world LOVE ALWAYS WINS over hate! Good resists even when evil persists!

If that isn’t support of anyone alleged to be involved in criminal activity, I don’t know what is.

Blatant disregard on GoFundMe’s part of their own terms aside, there’s another issue with this campaign: who the hell is Shirley? She is the sole beneficiary of the campaign, meaning she could be withdrawing that $9000 raised so far as we speak. But hey, that isn’t suspicious on its own, right?

But wait, what’s this? Fink is also actively removing any negative comments as soon as they appear on the campaign. See these two? Gone.

Reality Winner GoFundMe

The comments were vaporized not an hour after being posted, you can still see them on this archived snapshot of the campaign.

Reality Winner GoFundMe

So, with that out of the way, let’s talk about these other GoFundMes for Winner. One is an exact copy of the Fink campaign, just with a different picture [archived here]. It seeks a more ambitious goal of $100k.

Reality Winner fake GoFundMe

A second GoFundMe for Reality Winner [archived here] is just as half-assed, also organized by someone who isn’t Facebook verified so could be just about anyone who the hell knows.

Reality Winner GoFundMe

In summation, if you donate to any of these campaigns for Ms. Winner, maybe you deserve to get ripped off. Kinda like the NSA deserved to get classified information leaked for not watching their own printers more closely. Stay away, stay far away. It is possible that a legal defense will be organized for Winner on behalf of a legitimate and trusted defense fund, at which point you can throw money directly at that. Until then, exercise extreme caution.