Avoiding GoFundMe fraud

Volusia County Sheriff’s Office Warns Against Fake GoFundMe Campaigns for Fallen K-9

Here we are again with another reminder that you should be extra careful donating to any campaign put up in the wake of a disaster.

Earlier this week, 34-year-old Eddie Powell was captured by Volusia County deputies down in Florida, but not before an hours-long standoff that led to him shooting department K-9 Forrest. The two-year-old dog, described by his former trainer as “a happy-go-lucky dog with a lot of drive” and intelligent, had tracked the suspect into a wooded area when the suspect opened fire, prompting deputies to fire back. The department said they believe it was Powell’s bullet that hit the K-9. Forrest was rushed to the vet’s office, where he later died.

The suspect is facing charges of use of a deadly weapon against a police dog, two counts of attempted second-degree murder with a firearm, possession of a weapon or ammunition by a convicted felon and fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer and failure to register a motor vehicle.

As they are mourning the loss of their own, the sheriff’s office is adding a warning to anyone who might come across any unauthorized GoFundMe campaigns in the fallen K-9’s name:

Attention all: Many of you may have noticed there’s a GoFundMe account circulating for our fallen K-9. While we deeply appreciate all of you out there who want to help in some way, we want to make clear that we’re not associated with any GoFundMe accounts or other fundraising efforts. It’s too easy to get scammed out there, and in the event that multiple accounts start popping up, we don’t want any of you to lose your hard-earned money. We’ll be announcing arrangements in the near future, but in the meantime, it’s your support, kind words and prayers that mean the most to us, not your dollars. Thanks again for all the messages and offers of support for our deputy and his family.

This is how quickly it happens. A campaign — which may or may not be legit — goes up within hours or even minutes of the incident hitting the news and suddenly well-meaning people are spreading it. People want to help, right? Of course they do.

K9 Forrest Gofundme

That campaign has since been taken down.

I honestly believe in my cold black heart that a large number of these “fake” fundraisers are actually started by decent yet opportunistic people who don’t intend to scam, exactly, but want to be the one to get credit for “helping.” As if it takes that much effort to slap up a GoFundMe campaign.

Let the department decide if and how they want to organize a fundraiser.

Thank you for your service, Forrest.

Volusia K9