Families impacted by the coronavirus are being targeted by GoFundMe scammers who clone their Facebook accounts and ask for donations, Maza Inside reports.
On March 24, Diane Middleton posted on Facebook that her 21-year-old daughter died due to coronavirus.
“To all the people out there that thinks it’s just a virus please think again,” Middleton wrote. “Speaking from a personal experience this so called virus has taken the life of my 21 year old daughter.”
On April 3, she warned her Facebook friends that her account had been cloned and that someone was pretending to be her online. She told her followers to “not give a penny” and to report the account.
The page, which has since been taken down, nearly mirrored Middleton’s Facebook post. “To all the people out there that thinks it’s just a virus please think again. Speaking from a personal experience this so-called virus has taken the life of my 23 year-old daughter,” the page said, per the Sun.
By Friday morning, the GoFundMe page had been removed.
Middleton did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment.
Karen Marshall, whose daughter also died, warned her Facebook friends on Wednesday that her daughter’s profile was cloned for a campaign on the FundRazr website.
She updated the post, writing that the fundraising page was removed. But some of her friends commented that they tried to donate before they knew it was fake.
Marshall, who did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment, told her friends to keep an eye on their bank statements and to report the page if they see it again.
In response to scams like these, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a list of precautions for individuals looking to support charities.
The FTC advises people to be careful how they pay and to conduct proper research before making any donations.
Twitter users are warning their followers of these scam tactics, telling them to “be safe.”
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H/T Maza Inside