HERRIMAN, Utah (News4Utah) – GoFundMe pages help communities give money to those in need — if, and when, those GoFundMe pages are legitimate.
But, after a tragic crash that left a 5-month-old dead earlier this week, the victim’s grandfather had a message to the community.
“There is one GoFundMe,” said Robert Skankey.
“Unbeknownst to us, there was an additional one that was started. So, please make sure that you realize there is only one,” he added.
The “legit” GoFundMe page, started by a family friend, has helped raise nearly $40,000. The organizer told News4Utah that she thinks the other page — which has since been closed — was started by someone who witnessed the crash.
“We’ve got a very generous community, and people want to give. But you have to be very careful who you’re giving that money to,” said Lt. Brian Lohrke with Unified Police.
Far too often, police say, they see fraudulent GoFundMe pages appear online after local tragedies.
It’s up to those donating to be aware — and to do their homework.
“You can look at their social media pages. You can contact that person directly through the GoFundMe page. Or, when in doubt, contact GoFundMe themselves,” said Lohrke.
Can you please update it with this statement from GoFundMe?:
GoFundMe issued the following statement:
It’s not uncommon for someone to create a GoFundMe to help another individual after a news report. In this case, the campaign your story references has been closed and we guarantee the funds raised will be directed to the Skankey family.
Additionally, It’s helpful to know how a donation ends up getting to a beneficiary (the person or group a campaign is intended to benefit). Funds are collected by our payment processors, held, and then released only to the person named as the beneficiary. If a campaign organizer has a direct, personal connection to the beneficiary, then in some instances the campaign organizer may withdraw the funds to provide directly to the beneficiary. If any questions arise, our team will hold the funds unless the beneficiary is verified to our satisfaction. This layer of protection ensures that funds go only into the right hands.
It’s also important to remember that our platform is backed by the GoFundMe Guarantee, which means that in the rare case that GoFundMe, law enforcement or a user finds campaigns are misused, donors are fully protected and will get refunded. And if a campaign organizer does not deliver funds to the intended recipient, GoFundMe will donate the undelivered amount to the right person. Additional information can be found here: www.gofundme.com/safety