N.B. toddler's cancer diagnosis exploited by fake GoFundMe page
Published Tuesday, April 12, 2016 7:03PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, April 14, 2016 5:23PM EDT
A New Brunswick woman says her daughter’s cancer diagnosis was exploited after someone she didn’t know set up an apparently fake GoFundMe campaign.
The page for 14-month-old Marlie Curwin, who has leukemia, gathered hundreds of dollars before it was reported to administrators and shut down Tuesday.
But the child’s mother says she’d like the person responsible tracked down and punished.
“I was very mad that somebody would use my daughter’s illness to try to benefit and get money,” Erin Curwin told CTV Atlantic.
Marlie has been in a Halifax hospital waiting for a bone marrow transplant since January. She’s undergone three rounds of chemotherapy and celebrated her first birthday in hospital.
On Tuesday, the suspicious “Marrow for Marlie” page was discovered by Curwin’s sister.
“My sister sent me a text with the link asking if I knew the person who had set it up, and she said if not then I’ll report it,” she said.
The page was promptly reported to the website’s administrators and taken offline by the afternoon. GoFundMe also refunded all donations made to the page.
"While fraud is an extremely rare occurrence on our platform, there are the unfortunate cases where people create campaigns with the intention of taking advantage of others' generosity,” the crowdfunding service said in a statement Thursday. “In these instances, we do everything we can to ensure that the funds are delivered to the intended beneficiary.”
GoFundMe said it has also encouraged those who donated to the fake page to contribute to the real fundraiser for the child, which has raised more than $10,000.
The RCMP says that fake crowdfunding campaigns underline the importance of knowing exactly where your money is going online.
“I would encourage anyone who has been the victim or target of anything like this to report it to their local RCMP detachment and also through the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre,” said RCMP Cpl. Jennifer Clark.
Stories of fake crowdfunding pages are not unheard of. In New York, a fake GoFundMe page reportedly sought $10,000 to pay for the funeral of a 9-year-old girl killed in a car accident. A similar story from Pennsylvania involved a fraudulent page for a teenage boy fighting cancer.
GoFundMe says that a user should report a page if they believe the organizer is “committing fraud or breaking the law.”
The website says it is willing to work with local law enforcement in some cases.
With a report from CTV Atlantic