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'Suspicious' Grenfell Fundraising Pages Removed From Crowdfunding Sites

Hundreds of pages were created in the aftermath of the fire.

14/07/2017 17:18

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”.

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'Suspicious' Grenfell fundraising pages removed from crowdfunding sites.

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.”

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.”

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.

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.” 

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