Scotland

Parents call for action over 'sick' GoFundMe scam

darci jackson
Image caption Darci died of leukaemia last year

A grieving couple who discovered a fake GoFundMe page had been set up in the name of their dead daughter say the problem needs to be taken seriously.

Amanda and Graeme Jackson, from Kirkcaldy in Fife, lost their six-year-old daughter Darci to cancer last year.

They had created a GoFundMe page to raise money for vital treatments but she died before it could be used.

As they were making funeral arrangements, the couple found a fake page using Darci's images and story.

Hundreds of pounds had been donated to the fraudulent campaign.

Graeme said he made the "sick" discovery when the couple were in the midst of terrible grief.

Image caption Amanda and Graeme Jackson lost their daughter Darci last year

"Scammers are going to scam, but to go to that low level and scam a dead child's page is unbelievable," he told BBC Scotland's The Nine.

His wife added: "You can't fathom that another person would do such as thing. It's absolutely vile."

The couple described their daughter as "an incredibly fun-loving, sassy, determined, brave, special little girl".

They had launched the fundraising campaign to pay for potentially life-saving treatment in the US for her acute lymphoblasic leukaemia but she died days later.

The money raised was never withdrawn by the Jacksons and all donors were refunded

Image caption Her parents said Darci was fun-loving, sassy and determined

The fake funding appeal was discovered as they prepared to bury her.

Graeme said: "Going through the pain of losing your daughter is hard enough without someone setting up a fake page that you have then to deal with."

The Jackson's alerted GoFundMe and the company removed the page and passed the details to police.

However, the police investigation was eventually dropped. Although officers were able to trace the IP address responsible, they were not able to identify a suspect.

Amanda said: "If there were consequences to carrying out these kinds of things then it might make people stop and think about doing it. There is no deterrent at all."

Her husband said websites such as GoFundMe were often a "good thing" but when fake pages were set up more needed to be done about it.

The people who donated to the scammed account were all refunded by GoFundMe.

Image caption Darci's images were used by a fake fundraising page

It said it had the strongest and most effective processes in the market for dealing with fake pages.

John Coventry, GoFundMe's European director, said fraud was rare.

He said: "If you say we have about 75,000 campaigns a year, you are talking about maybe five confirmed cases of fraud each year, which is really quite low.

"The thing about any financial technology products is people are constantly trying to beat the system and we are constantly trying to beat them.

"We put almost a third of our company's resources into trust and safety. That's a huge investment on our part and we are continually working to make the system safer to make sure we eliminate fraud entirely."

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