Hyderabad: Fraudsters make a killing on crowdfunding | Live Newspaper Hyderabad

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HYDERABAD: Next time if you are keen to support a person raising funds for medical treatment on a crowdfunding platform, check carefully before you transfer the money.
While many people have successfully raised funds for the treatment of their loved ones through crowdfunding, police and activists have come across several cases, where scamsters have made a killing on social media.
“From what we know, two fake fundraisers were created for my son’s treatment and not even a single rupee reached us,” said M Harish Raj, whose nine-month-old son Charan has undergone surgery for a rare ailment in July.
Harish, who has been unemployed for the last one year, said that his son was in immediate need of surgery and required a significant amount to meet medical expenses. He shared his son’s medical documents with friends and relatives and sought their help. “I don’t know how they ended up on social media. Unknown people collected money for my son’s surgery, but did not help us,” he added.
While some are said to be starting fundraisers by using bills of random patients, others are asking for financial help by falsely claiming that their loved ones are sick.
Covid warriors have come across several fake fundraisers
KVM Prasad, ACP, cybercrime, Hyderabad and S Harinath, his counterpart in Rachakonda urged people to immediately contact the cybercrime police, if they face any such issue.
“Online cheating has always been rampant. The same was the case during the pandemic as well as many lost their hard-earned money by trusting and transferring money to unknown people for medicines and injections. People have to be careful,” said Harinath.
Covid warriors, who are help people in finding medicines, raise funds, get hospital beds, among others, said that they came across several fake fundraisers and got them removed from the crowdfunding platforms in the last one month.
Another woman, who started a fundraiser for her husband’s mucormycosis treatment, also had a terrible experience. “I am not sure if funds are directed to someone else’s account, but after a point in time we did not get any funds,” she said.
In most of these cases, the phone number and account details mentioned along with the request do not belong to the family members of the patient.
“Recently, I saw a request on Twitter asking money for a rare surgery. I recognized the child’s photograph. His surgery was already done and the application seeking funds from the chief minister’s relief fund was also accepted. When I called the number mentioned, he said that he is raising funds for his nephew’s surgery. When I confronted, he promised to send the money to the parents of the boy, but failed to do so,” said Sheik Rafeeq, a Covid warrior.
Sai Charan K, another activist who coordinates with crowdfunding groups said that he got about seven requests blocked from crowdfunding platforms in the last 20 to 30 days.
Activists said that not just for surgery or treatment, people are also trying to get easy money by asking for groceries, diapers, baby food, among other things. “Instead of seeking help from one, few are approaching six to seven people and taking help from everyone. To counter this, all of us started communicating among ourselves and only one of us is helping only if the request is found to be genuine,” said Srinivas Bellam of Feed the Needy NGO.
“It’s sort of an emotional blackmail as scamsters plead they need funds for infants or children,” Bellam added.

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