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Fake GoFundMe pages tracked, disabled

April 23, 2019 07:37 PM

More than 27,000 people have donated toward Landen's medical bills through a GoFundMe set up for his family. The five-year-old was thrown from the third-floor balcony at Mall of America by 24-year-old Emmanuel Aranda, who has been charged with first-degree premeditated attempt to commit murder in Hennepin County. 

The GoFundMe campaign to help cover five-year-old Landen's medical costs has raised more than $960,000. A GoFundMe spokesperson admits high-profile cases do attract people trying to start 'copy-cat' campaigns.

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RELATED: Family spokesperson says child who was thrown off MOA balcony remains in intensive care

Bess Ellenson with the Better Business Bureau says it's important to verify exactly who will be receiving your donation. 

"If people are a little unsure of whom they're donating to, reach out to them directly and find out their connection to the people that they're raising money for. Don't hesitate to do that because it's your money. You don't want to lose out but at the same time you want to help people in need," she said. 

Ellenson says the BBB just recently saw a flood of fake fund raising pages following the Notre Dame church fire.  

A GoFundMe spokesperson wrote, "most people will never see these type of campaigns since their teams and technology are able to catch them before any money is raised." According to GoFundMe, campaigns with misuse make up less than one-tenth of one percent of all campaigns. 

"I do feel like the problem is bigger than they're willing to admit. I certainly question their statistic 'less than one-tenth of one percent' has been their mantra. In the nine years they've existed, that number has never changed. I feel that's an issue," Adrienne Gonzalez, the founder of GoFraudMe.com, said. 

Gonzalez says GoFundMe is diligent about spotting fraud connected to high-profile campaigns like the one for Landen. 

"I think the bigger danger is in the less popular campaigns because GoFundMe's not dedicating the kind of manpower that they are to these highly publicized cases," she said.

GoFundMe says that all donations are protected by their GoFundMe guarantee. Their policy ensures the funds raised go to the intended recipient. GoFundMe guarantees your donation will go to the right place or your money back.

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Todd Wilson

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