A Tulsa family whose four-year-old daughter recently went viral as she battled COVID-19 is warning against giving money to sites claiming to help them. This comes after an Instagram user created a fake fundraiser for Aurora.
Sometimes kindness comes at a cost. Experts with AARP recommend you do your due diligence before donating to random online fundraisers.
"People want to do the right things and they want to help out but in their hurry to do that, they're sometimes moving a little too quickly,” said Melanie Henry, AARP Oklahoma.
You might remember Aurora Cannon who went viral after her mom shared videos of her journey battling COVID-19 before making a full recovery.
Aurora’s mom said she closed their GoFundMe a couple weeks ago and was shocked to discover an Instagram user was using their story for profit.
In a statement, Cannon said, “I am honestly disgusted that someone would use those vulnerable videos of my daughter as a ploy to benefit themselves. We shared those after much debate, because we wanted good to come out of it. We wanted to educate others. And now someone is taking advantage and it breaks my heart. So if anyone sees a link to donate, DONT!"
"The reality is, the crooks don't care what your age is, where you live, they don't care what you do for a living. All they want to do is get their hands on your money,” said Melanie Henry with AARP Oklahoma.
Henry said if you see a fundraiser online and want to donate, you should always start with research and asking questions. Henry said you can contact a GoFundMe organizer directly or refer to the company's trust and safety team.
"Figure out, who is the organizer behind this? What is their connection to the party that is supposed to be helped,” said Henry?
Henry said unfortunately crooks follow the headlines and capitalize on misfortune.
"When there is a disaster, when there is something that strikes a community, they are going to try to swoop in and take advantage of people's good nature,” said Henry.
The fake fundraiser for Aurora has since been taken down.
For more information on how to avoid falling victim to fraud, click here.