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Tuesday 26th May 2020

Coronavirus: Scammers posing as grieving family members set up fake fundraisers for COVID-19 victims

Sickening

Scammers are reportedly setting up fundraising campaigns as they pose as the grieving relatives of coronavirus victims.

Devastated families of people killed by the deadly flu-like bug have seen their legitimate fundraising efforts copied by fraudsters looking to make easy money.

One scam page imitated a message from the mother of Chloe Middleton, who died from coronavirus in March (Credit: Sky News)

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According to The Sun, one GoFundMe appeal, 'COVID-19 Funeral', sought £5,000 for the funeral of someone called Chelsea McDonnell, aged 23.

Imitating real grief

The page read: "To all the people out there that thinks it's just a virus please think again. Speaking from a personal experience this so-called virus has taken the life of my 23-year-old daughter."

But it was the same text used by the mum of real-life coronavirus victim Chloe Middleton, who tragically died last month at the age of 21.

Since the page appeared, Chloe's mum Diane has taken to Facebook to warn people about the scam.

She said someone had "cloned" her Facebook account, adding: "Someone is pretending to be me and is asking for money. Do not give a penny and please spread the word! And please report the account to Facebook."

The social media site quickly shut the page down.

And a spokesperson for GoFundMe told The Sun that the firm was currently vetting the Chelsea McDonnell page.

Do not give a penny and please spread the word!

And the company insisted it controls all funds until it is happy they will go to the right place. It also said that donors are "always 100 per cent protected" when they give to campaigns on GoFundMe.

Similarly, a fraudulent fundraising scam followed the death of Lindsay Marshall from Rochdale, near Manchester. She died from COVID-19 at the age of 44.

Warnings to pals

Lindsay's sister, Karen, warned pals of links to a fake appeal on fundraising site Fundrazr. The company was quick to shut it down.

Scam pages have appeared on several fundraising websites (Credit: Pexels)

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Karen warned on Facebook: "If anyone gets a friend request off me with this link to Lindsay Marshall's fund it's not me and it's not her fund. Can't believe people are trying to make money out of this."

Speaking to LancsLive, she said: "It just sickens me to know that someone would use the loss of Lindsay to try to make them money, especially when the money we were raising was going to such a good cause."

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