Mother warns of GoFundMe dangers after nearly losing $1,000
GENOA, Ill. (WIFR) - Most fundraisers start with good intentions, but Andi Davis says she can’t say the same in her experience.
Davis says initially she was thankful for her friend Alicia Seifrid, who set up a GoFundMe to support Davis’ 17-year-old daughter Gabby Galindo, who battled a terminal illness. She spent six months in the hospital which started in July 2020.
What seemed to be a kind gesture turned out to be the ultimate betrayal.
“I have never asked for a GoFundMe and she said the funds are coming in let’s just keep it,” says Davis. “We discovered she’d been taking funds as they were coming in, and we went through hell and back to try and get the records from GoFundMe to prove we had to file police reports.”
Davis says Seifrid duped her family out of nearly $1,000 around the time Gabby was in the hospital. That’s when Andi decided to take legal action.
“It’s not all about the money. You know, it’s about the fact that here I am in the middle of COVID by myself laying in a hospital bed with a daughter, who is in a coma and who was on life support,” says Davis.
Gabby ended up passing away from her illness on April 16, 2021. Now Andi hopes to make a change amid her pain.
“Many days spent in bed, tons of therapy sessions, which I’m not ashamed to admit. I just lost a daughter,” says Davis. “There are no laws when it comes to stealing from sick kids or charities. I won’t stop until my last dying breath to seek justice for those that are wronged by donations.”
A grand jury decided to charge and indict Seifrid with fraud, theft and deception, but she refused the plea. Instead, Seifrid is asking for a bench trial, which is scheduled for July 18.
Allstate’s Identity Protections say the most common scams people fall for are texts and phone calls, charities and peer-to-peer payment service scams.
A representative with GoFundMe released the following statement regarding the situation with Ms. Davis:
“Trust and Safety are our top priority. We take the misuse of our platform very seriously and take many steps to protect the generosity of donors and GoFundMe recipients. Fundraisers with misuse are rare, and our team works with law enforcement to report issues and assists them in any investigations they deem necessary, as in this case.
I can confirm that we worked closely with Ms. Davis who received all funds raised on her behalf through the GoFundMe Beneficiary Guarantee. Beneficiaries may request a payment from GoFundMe in the rare case an organizer failed to deliver the donations made on GoFundMe.
The fundraiser organizer has been banned from using GoFundMe for any future fundraisers.
Misuse is extremely rare on our platform, and we have a zero-tolerance policy. To learn more, here are our Trust & Safety processes, the GoFundMe Giving Guarantee and Beneficiary Guarantee. For more information on how to stay safe on GoFundMe, see here.
While the overwhelming majority of people use our platform to help others, we are aware that bad actors exist – to protect our donors and organizers, one-quarter of our global team is dedicated to Trust & Safety. With this team, which is made up of experts who have diverse backgrounds in forensic science, government relations and criminal justice, we have been managing global, large-scale fundraising for more than a decade.”
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