US News 'Suspicious' Grenfell Fundraising Pages Removed From Crowdfunding Sites

23:20  14 july  2017
23:20  14 july  2017 Source:

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Suspicious fundraising pages set up in the wake of the Grenfell disaster have had to be removed from crowdfunding sites . Hundreds of pages were created in the aftermath of the fire, which killed at least 80 people one month ago.

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'Suspicious' Grenfell fundraising pages removed from crowdfunding sites. © Provided by Huffington Post 'Suspicious' Grenfell fundraising pages removed from crowdfunding sites.

Suspicious fundraising pages set up in the wake of the Grenfell disaster have had to be removed from crowdfunding sites.

Hundreds of pages were created in the aftermath of the fire, which killed at least 80 people one month ago.

GoFundMe has said that its systems detected “a very small number of campaigns who looked suspicious”.

All the latest news, views and opinion on the Grenfell tragedy

In a statement to HuffPost UK, a spokesperson from the crowdfunding platform said: “We removed confirmed cases of misuse and blocked those campaign organisers from using GoFundMe.”

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The spokesperson said that in every case the “offending campaign” was removed within minutes or hours of it being created and before any money was donated.

“In incidents like the fire at Grenfell Tower, we do not release funds until we have established a direct, personal connection between the campaign organiser and the beneficiary or the beneficiary joins the campaign and adds their own bank account for withdrawals,” a GoFundMe spokesperson said.

“We work with the campaign organisers and the authorities to make sure all the money raised gets to the right people.

“GoFundMe users are also fully protected by the GoFundMe Guarantee - we are the only fundraising platform to offer such a guarantee - which means funds are guaranteed to go to the right place or donors will get a refund.”

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JustGiving is another popular crowdfunding site people have turned to in the wake of the disaster.

Rhys Goode, JustGiving’s PR director, said there are two types of fundraising pages that users can set up through the site.

Some JustGiving fundraising pages link directly to a charity, so the funds go directly to the organisation.

With these kinds of pages, there is “zero risk at all” of the page being fraudulent, Goode said.

But the other model used by the site allows individuals to crowdfund a campaign without being directly linked with a charity.

“Now with these pages, obviously, there is an element of risk.”

He added: “We spend a lot of time trying to prevent that. We have a verification system that people have to go through before any funds from their page is paid out.”

This includes proof of identity and regular contact with page owners to establish their links in the community and how they plan to distribute funds, Goode said.

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While almost all the media attention for crowdfunding sites goes to mega platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, there are hundreds of other crowdfunding and fundraising websites to meet your campaign goal.

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He added: “There is an element that we can never 100% know individual’s intentions.

“But from our experience, so far 99% of people, in a very British way, just want to do the right and generous thing and set up these pages.”

JustGiving said that 700 fundraising pages were created in relation to the Grenfell fire and Goode said none of them had to be removed.

“We certainly haven’t taken any down,” he said. “We usually get one or two people who are concerned and then we would then take steps to be in touch with the page owners.

“We haven’t really seen a massive amount of that in terms of this [Grenfell] at all.

“We had a case with [the] Westminster [terror attack] where we there was quite a lot of concern raised with our community.”

In photos: Dramatic pictures of the Grenfell Tower blaze in London (Reuters)

Flames and smoke billow as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London. London apartment block fire

Grenfell fire: 39 victims now identified and ‘many more’ names to come .
Bassem Choukair, 40, Mierna Choukair, 13, and Nadia Choucair, 33, all members of the same family, were recovered from the 22nd floor.Three members of the same family were among the latest victims to be named at Westminster Coroner’s Court as four more inquests were opened on Wednesday.


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