Four Tips for Detecting Fake GoFundMe Campaigns

Tons of fake GoFundMe donation pages were created for the family of Robert Godwin Sr. earlier this week after he was murdered in cold blood . This is no doubt a nasty trick, but this isn’t the first time scammers have hunted sympathetic members, and it won’t be the last. Here’s how to spot fake campaigns before you throw your money away.

GoFundMe’s official position is that donors should only make payments to users they personally know and trust, but this is not entirely possible when such a tragedy happens. However, here’s what you can do if you want to donate safely:

  1. Avoid pages with a minimal amount of information. The page shown in the screenshot above, discovered by , only mentioned a homeless family who are ashamed to ask for help. No mention of the baby, hospital bills, or any specific concerns.
  2. Always do a reverse image search with Google. If you’re using Chrome, just right-click your main photo on the GoFundMe page and select Search Google Image. If you see a lot of results, scammers have likely stolen this photo in order to use it in their fake campaign.
  3. Check the social media presence of the campaigner. Scammers create fake profile pages right in front of fake campaigns. A quick search for their name should bring up their Facebook page and more. The “Kelly Burnside” example above had a brand new Facebook page with a few friends and posts. Sound the alarm!
  4. Contact them directly. GoFundMe makes it easy to connect with campaigners. Just click the little green envelope next to their name and ask them a few questions. Scammers will either not respond or send false information that you can easily spot.

GoFundMe can be a dangerous place if you have a big heart and money burning a hole in your pocket, but it can still be good strength if you’re careful. In the case of Robert Godwin Sr., the family has stated that it is not going to host a GoFundMe. However, Wesley Scott Alexander’s campaign got stuck anyway, and GoFundMe spokesman Bobby Whithorn told The Washington Post that his page has been verified and is the official campaign if you want to donate without worry.


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