WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- An American teen girl was surprised to see that her picture was being used for a fake fundraising campaign.
- A fundraiser, supposedly from the U.K., featured the teener’s picture and claimed that their “sister” has died, and they needed help on her burial expenses.
- The fundraising platform has since taken down the post and assured everyone that no money reached the scammers.
Safia Barkadle thought that a text she received about supposed fundraising for a cause with her photo was just a prank, but it turned out, the online post was real.
The 17 -year-old teen told BuzFeed that she, including her friends and family, got confused, and she also received many questions about the posting. Safia also said that she never thought that anyone could do such a malicious act to some people.
The social media post, a GoFundMe drive with the title “Help With My Babysisters Funeral,” has used the teenage girl’s photos to commit the fraudulent act to ask people for money, and has already raised thousands of dollars to a bogus cause.
Upon discovery of the fake fundraising drive, Safia went to Twitter on Feb. 14 and uploaded a video to show all her friends and followers that she was alive and well. The video, with the caption “IM ALIVE STOP DONATING TO THIS FRAUDULENT PERSON! YOU ARE ALL BEING SCAMMED,” has gone viral ever since.
The page creator grabbed a selfie picture of Barkadle off her Instagram account and claimed that the girl on the photo was her allegedly deceased sister, “Hani Yusuf.” BuzzFeed described the post was supposed to be from a family seeking financial help for the burial of “Yusuf.”
Barkadle, on her same Twitter video, further said that the details on the GoFundMe drive were all just made up. She also pointed out that the place of residence and age are all wrong. The page claimed that she was from the U.K., and she was only 15 years of age when they live in the U.S., and she’s already 17.
From the time it was posted, Safia’s video Tweet has been watched more than 150,000 times, with retweets and comments by the users, condemning the act.
Meanwhile, crowdfunding platform GoFundMe, recently announced that the deceitful page was already taken out of their page. The fundraising firm also assured Buzzfeed through a statement that the £5,300 or close to $7,300 successfully raised by the scammers will not be given to them.
GoFundMe added that it was their company policy to hold the funds until identities and claims of fundraisers are verified. They also have authentication processes before any money is released. Once they received complaints and reports about a scam, they immediately act on it, and once they found out that it is fraudulent, they ban the initiators. Donated money on these cases is also refunded to the donors.