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.


  1. Brent Comstock

    Do you enjoy making such false claims on a perfectly legit fund raiser to help out a girl that morally done the right thing? It makes me physically sick to my stomach to see such negativity coming from a so called”human being” such as yourself. Haven’t you ever heard of innocent until proven guilty before? Why would you come to such hasty conclusions? There sure are alot of ifs and maybe’s in your report. How much do they pay you to act out in such a manner? You should be ashamed of yourself. There are several good kind hearted people that have donated to this perfectly legit fund raiser including a celebrity so don’t be popping off with the mouth to soon it just might come back to bite you in the ass!!!

    • Feel free to point out any falsehoods. And hey, it’s your money.

      BTW Brent, I see you were the very first one to donate to the Fink campaign. Do you know her? Or just randomly happened to see that campaign before anyone else did?

      • L. Mary T

        You, gofraudme, like to insult people and post false info (similar to admin 45, which you obviously support)

    • L. Mary T

      Thank you, Brent, for putting this site to shame.

    • L. Mary T

      Here’s your validation from https://www.gofundme.com/2d9rnm64:

      Created June 5, 2017
      Shirley J. Fink 
      on behalf of Gary Davis
       FAIRFAX, VA

      Now if the webmaster will, please update your report on gofraudme to reflect the current information, we’d appreciate it. This is a reliable, authenticated site.

  2. Sharon

    I do want to donate to her legal defense, but am not sure if the money will be used as such. She will need a good attorney.

    • L. Mary T

      Sharon, I understand your concern, but Reality Winner’s gofundme by organizer Shirley J. Fink is a reliable site where Reality’s family will receive all funds donated.

      Gofraudme, on the other hand, is an unreliable source since they choose to defame rather than update their site to reflect the truth.

  3. Steve Jones

    Hopefully the CIA and FBI will start monitoring all those that give money to this leaker who admits she wants to “burn down the Whitehouse.” Keep up the support so the authorities know who to monitor.

    • L. Mary T

      Lots of people #burn down the whitehouse.” It is a metaphor to dismantle the oligarchy that has seized control of our country in an effort to destroy us. Why are the supporters of admin 45 so completely uniformed?

  4. L. Mary T

    The Davis-Winner family has endorsed this site and Ms. Fink, the organizer, is reliable. Reality Leigh Winner’s family must agree to be the beneficiary for the site before the organizer can begin the fundraiser.

    • I notice your first statement is now true (it wasn’t at the time I posted this), however the second is absolutely false. Anyone can create a campaign for any reason, and no they do not need any authorization whatsoever from the family or whomever they are purporting to raise money on behalf of.

      • L. Mary T

        Thank you for correcting/updating your error, and I stand corrected on the gofundme rules. gofundme does have safeguards in place to prevent fraud.

        • Barely, L. Mary T. I’m not trying to pick a fight with you, but I’ve seen too many cases of someone capitalizing on a high-profile case such as this one to part well-meaning people from their money for their own gain. I need to update with the new info on the beneficiary, I for one am glad the campaign organizer added that so at least people know FOR SURE the funds are getting to Winner’s family; my beef isn’t a moral or political one, I was merely pointing out that this violates GoFundMe’s own rules and that not having a member of Winner’s family as beneficiary meant that potentially Fink could withdraw every penny. Go look at my fraud tracker, there are dozens upon dozens of cases where the campaign organizer ran off with the money because they had immediate access to it (just as Ms. Fink did in the early days of the campaign).

          • L. Mary T

            Thank you for the words of caution and the discussion to validate Ms. Winner’s site.

          • Curtis Fease

            It is so sad that you made claims without verifying. You haven’t updated your article. GoFundMe spoke with the owner and didn’t put the site back up until they verified where the money was going. You now know your article is wrong, even if you didn’t before thanks to your willingness to “report” devoid of facts, yet you haven’t removed mention of this fake article or your inflammatory attack on the person who started it… Who’s already being attacked by trolls.

            It appears you have an ulterior motive, and anyone who read this crap knows that the main point wasn’t that the campaign violated terms. Pathetic

  5. To add to the facts: I was never in a position to act as beneficiary and withdraw funds. Gofundme temporarily froze and held all funds until we could complete the necessary beneficiary information in detail. The beneficiary name was given to gofundme management team within 24 hours of the launch of the campaign. You could of simply contacted me and gofundme before reporting false information and allegations. Going so far as to make fun of my name is not getting to facts that are helpful for those who are scammed. It is unprofessional, intent proves to falsely inflammatory and slanderous statements. I am asking for a public apology and for gofraudme to correct this article. The other gofundme campaigns in your article were removed by gofundme Trust and Safety Management Team. ~Shirley J. Fink

    • Who made fun of your name? And it’s interesting you say I should have reached out, because you blocked someone who attempted to clarify things with you.

  6. Curtis Fease

    You’re a flat out liar. The parents of Reality Winner have shared this on their PERSONAL Facebook pages. It’s obvious that you’re either trying to kill the momentum or simply know you’re lying but are getting great ad revenue from clicks on this article.

    Various news sites have reported on this fundraiser and the family and attorney are in constant contact with the one who started it. It’s sickening that you’re attempting to profit off lies.

    Absolute yellow journalism.

  7. Corey

    Just remember when that bad thing happens to you. Karma is a bitch. So are you.

  8. Brent Comstock

    There are 3 things here that are 100% for sure at this current time. #1 This campaign was for sure without a doubt setup in a good noble fashion to help provide financial assistance for Reality Winner and her family during these hard times. This is both absolutely and positively not a scam. #2 All and I mean every single last penny of these donations will go to the beneficiary in which is her step father Gary Davis in which is married to her real mother in which makes him an immediate legal family member. #3 You are an absolute ignorant fool for continuing to display these false claims on this website. I understand that this website was designed to protect people from being scammed out of their money by falling for fake stories to gain sympathy to ultimately prosper from gullible people in which by the way is a wonderful thing. Your readers come on here to find facts and creditability not false claims. Don’t you think for one second that maybe your readers just might be starting to lose faith in this website when you post nonsense like this and have been proven to be incorrect and misleading by several people along with gofundme.com themselves? Don’t lose the entire credibility of this website due to one false and misleading claim!!! This campaign has brought in almost $40, 000 so far now thanks to all of the very honest and extremely noble people that have donated their money for such a good cause. It is expected to reach its goal of $50, 000 within a few days and there is nothing that you can do to prevent that. Good always prevails over evil!!! All you are doing at the current moment is setting yourself up for failure by leaving such horrendous false accusations out there for your readers to view. So at the end of the day mine along with many others advice is to take this down immediately to prevent yourself from not only losing your credibility but most importantly looking like a fool.

  9. Savanahh

    So you’re pointing to “archived” sites/photos?!?! – doesn’t that mean GoFundMe did the right thing and REMOVED them once they found them? SMH

    I’ve read their “GoFundMe Guarantee …” – everyone shoudl feel protected when donating to any fundraiser …https://pages.gofundme.com/guarantee-policy/

    Not to mention, I know for a fact in regard to news events, they immediately reach out to the orgnizer and make it known they will handle the donations until the right person is tracked down. This happened to an acquaintance and she told us how reassuring the process is with the whole gofundme team. THEY DO THEIR DUE DILIGENCE …(hence why the other reality winner pages were gone once you checked back)

    • Hey genius, you should probably disclaim that you work for GoFundMe. Unless you just so happen to be using a computer in their office for some bizarre reason.

      • Savanahh

        I don’t work for them, but I would certainly love to! Great idea – Seems easy since I live in San Diego too. Can you pass along their hiring info?

        I see you didn’t answer any of my points! Awesome. Classic deflection.

        • Would you care to try that again, Savannahh? You commented from a GoFundMe IP address, see it is labeled and everything (switching networks after you got caught doesn’t change anything, you know). I’m embarrassed for you, truly. You should have just been upfront from the beginning,
          I would have appreciated your insight as a GoFundMe employee. “classic deflection” LMAO, good one. GoFundMe fake comment

        • Louis

          Savay, sweetie? Are you there? Hahahaahaaa


  10. Joe

    I’m having a hard time understanding one thing. If GoFundMe has shut down other campaigns that dealt with people being accused of a crime….oh, I don’t know…..the bakers in Oregon for example…..then why hasn’t this one been shut down for the same reason? Is it because the Oregon campaign benefited conservatives…and this one does not? Is it that simple of a fact….or am I distorting something?

  11. Edward C. Stengel

    If you’re worried about the GoFundMe accounts, simply donate to either “Courage to Resist” or “Stand with Reality”, both of which are legitimate organizations designed to help whistleblowers.

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