Crowdfunding is the name for  the process by which people raise funds on websites such as GoFundMe for various projects from movies and books to the development of new businesses and, most notably,  to help people in need of charity  Unfortunately, as I have been warning you about since 2012, the potential for crowdfunding scams is tremendous.   Recently there have been a surge in mass shootings around the country including one at a rail yard in San Jose, California in which nine men were killed.  Soon after the shooting a phony GoFundMe page was set up for Michael Rudornetkin one of the men killed people in the shooting.  It has since been taken down, but two more phony GoFundMe pages for victims were soon posted.

TIPS

Never assume that all crowdfunding solicitations are legitimate.  Despite the best efforts of GoFundMe and other legitimate crowdfunding sites, phony crowdfunding pages are not uncommon.  Remember my motto, “trust me, you can’t trust anyone.”  Even if a crowdfunding site has been recommended to you by trusted friends does not mean that it is legitimate.  Your friends could easily have been tricked.  In other instances, recommendations for crowdfunding pages may appear to come from your trusted friends, but actually are being sent by scammers to you who have hacked your friends’ social media or email accounts and pose as your friends in an effort to induce you into making a contribution to them.

One of the good aspects of GoFundMe is its guarantee that if scams like this are discovered, GoFundMe will refund all donations made to the scammers. Here is a link to GoFundMe’s guarantee. https://support.gofundme.com/hc/en-us/articles/203604704-The-GoFundMe-Guarantee

In addition, GoFundMe also provides tips for people trying to distinguish scams from legitimate requests for donation, which describe things you should consider before making a donation such as whether or not the intended beneficiary of the donations is in control of the withdrawals and if not, if there is a clear path for the funds to reach him or her. For a full list of the things you should consider before making a GoFundMe donation, click on this link. https://support.gofundme.com/hc/en-us/articles/115015913668-How-to-Determine-if-a-GoFundMe-is-Safe-to-Donate-To

GoFundMe does a good job of trying to keep its site free of scams, but of course, they will never be perfect. Fortunately, due to their guarantee policy, no one making a donation should feel there is a danger of losing their money to a discovered scam.

For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.”  Scamicide was recently cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.

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