An online fundraiser appeared Monday night for the family of Red Deer physician Walter Reynolds.
Sometime late Tuesday, a second fundraiser, also for the Reynolds family, and almost identical to the first one, appeared on GoFundMe. The fundraiser was removed from the website Wednesday.
GoFundMe spokesperson Caitlin Stanley said all donations will be refunded.
As of Wednesday morning, about $480 had been collected of the fraudulent fundraiser’s $20,000 goal. The goal was the same as the original fundraiser, as was the photo.
The words were also almost the same as the real fundraiser: “On a normal Monday morning, August 10th, life changed forever for the Reynolds family.”
Stanley said GoFundMe has banned the organizer of the fake campaign from any future fundraising.
“Campaigns with misuse are very rare, and we take all complaints very seriously,” she said.
“If a misuse of funds takes place on GoFundMe, donors are protected and their donations are refunded. Our team works with law enforcement to report issues and assists them in investigations.
“There’s a lot of work that happens behind the scenes. We have a dedicated team of trust and safety specialists who monitor the platform to ensure the safety and protection of our community.”
Red Deer RCMP said Wednesday anybody who suspects a fake account or fraudulent behaviour online can report it at 403-343-5575.
For those wondering if a campaign is legitimate, Stanley says:
If a donor has a question or wants to know more about a campaign before they donate, they can reach out to the campaign organizer directly through the GoFundMe page by clicking the contact button next to the campaign organizer’s name.
If, when contacting the organizer directly on the GoFundMe page, you do not get a response or the response raises questions, report the campaign directly to GoFundMe by clicking “report fundraiser” on the GoFundMe campaign page.