By Holly Roeder
Tragedy is unplanned. Unexpected.
The Chester County community rises up to support each other in times of joy, in matters of inconvenience, but even more in times of grief and loss. Such was the case following last weekend’s fatal car wreck, which claimed four young lives and left another hospitalized and fighting for her life. Almost immediately, calls and messages began flooding to close family and friends – “What can we do?” Food was prepared and deliveries were organized (we are in the south, after all). Benefits were scheduled. And Go Fund Me fundraiser accounts were created on Facebook.
Unfortunately, many who donated also began receiving private messages seemingly from the victims’ family and friends, explaining that the family needed funds now in order to prepare for funeral arrangements and other expenses. The messages began with a heartfelt thank you for previous donations, even calling the donors “the real heroes.” It then explained a secondary fundraiser had been created using Amazon eGift Cards, or offered to send a link and direct email. The messages used family and friends’ names and profile pictures, and appeared to be legitimate.
Those who realized it was fraudulent, made the family aware, and warnings began to be shared across social media. Cody Maness, who created the Go Fund Me for Tyler Stablein’s family, posted “I’m not doing any other fundraisers besides the one on FB and I’m not messaging anyone directly asking for donations.”
Kay Goldie said of the fundraiser she posted for Cayla Lenon’s family, “I will never message you for donations or in response to your donations…I will never ask for any other form of payment.”
Kenyatta Davis-Massey also urged donors to be aware of requests for donations, explaining that her account had apparently been hacked and people were receiving requests to donate through Amazon. She created the page for Roselyn Roberts’ family, and stated the fundraiser was only through Facebook, not Amazon.
Kayla Lott reiterated this, stating “I am not asking anyone for additional donations outside of the fundraiser page!” Lott created the Go Fund Me page for Kaylee Daniel’s family, and for her sister, Kristen’s medical expenses as she faces additional surgeries and specialized care in recovery.
Chief Deputy Mark Griffin suggested researching carefully prior to making donations. “During times of tragedy we see the best and, unfortunately, the worst in people. Social media may provide a platform for those who intend to deceive. As with any transaction, always attempt to verify the credibility of anyone soliciting donations. Don’t allow wicked people to deter you from helping people in need.”
The correct Go Fund Me accounts are listed below, as they appear online.
Cayla’s Ice Cream Sunday!
Fundraiser for Cynthia Clayton-Dismuke by Kay Goldie and Norman West
Tyler Stablein and family
Fundraiser for Cody Maness
Daniel family expenses
Fundraiser for Carrie Daniel by Kayla Lott
Roslyn’s Burial Expenses
Fundraiser for Kenyatta Davis-Massey