Robertson County Family Becomes Victim Of GoFundMe Scam

Posted at 10:11 PM, Aug 28, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-08 04:32:22-04

WHITE HOUSE, Tenn. – One Robertson County family has been giving a warning to people who make donations through crowdfunding sites like gofundme.

It came after a photo of their son ended up on a fake page created by an unknown user.

“It infuriates me knowing there is a scam around every corner,” said P.J. Sloan, after seeing a Facebook photo of his son Michael, 7, posted on an unfamiliar page.

The photo was taken of Michael while he was in the intensive care unit at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital last summer. After an accident in a swimming pool, he was diagnosed with a brain injury.

A friend spotted the photo and brought it to the family’s attention. After multiple people filed complaints the page was taken down before it could collect any significant donations.

On the fake gofundme page, the user described how his son "Chris" had an inoperable brain tumor and needed help. Sloan said he doesn’t know who was behind it.

“That’s my son,” said Sloan. “You didn’t ask me for permission.”

On the gofundme website, there is a section dedicated to safety and security. The company advises donors to only contribute to users they personally know and trust. It added there's no way to 100 percent guarantee that a user's gofundme donation page contains accurate or truthful information.

The website also said, gofundme investigates every single complaint of fraudulent activity that they receive. In the rare event that they do find fraudulent activity on an account, they have the power to remove the account, refund donors, and ban the user from ever signing up again.

Sloan said he hopes the situation will remind people to be cautious before donating to one of the sites.

“The biggest thing would be to make sure you really know what you’re donating to,” said Sloan.

Sloan said after Michael’s accident a legitimate gofundme page was started to help the family pay for medical expenses, and thousands of dollars were donated.

“These pages can help people in need,” said Sloan. “I worry now people will be reluctant to help the real people who need help.”