Scammers use story of child’s drowning to get money

Austin West
Austin West

The grandfather of a 4-year-old boy who died this weekend from drowning in a pool says people took advantage of their awful situation.

Jeff West says he tried to set up a gofundme website so that people could donate and help with funeral services for Austin West. He says family and friends say there were already several other pages with Austin’s name.

“We had a big setback when phoney GoFundMe accounts were set up before I made one, so I don’t know just how many donated to these scams before the real GoFundMe Page got set up. What people will do to make a buck off of a child,” West said.

West says it looks like those fake pages have now been taken down. But he adds the family cannot go forward at all until they get donations. They have set up a T-shirt account and a GoFundMe page, if you would like to help.

A spokesperson from GoFundMe wrote, “GoFundMe investigates every single complaint of fraudulent activity that we receive. In the rare event that we do find fraudulent activity on an account, we have the power to remove the account, refund donors, and ban the user from ever signing up again.”

Gofundme advises only donating to people you know and trust. If you suspect fraud on any of its pages, you can report it here.

The BBB of Southern Piedmont says there are things people should look for if they are giving to a GoFundMe account to determine if it’s legitimate before they give.

WBTV is the Observer’s news partner.