DES MOINES, Iowa -- A GoFundMe campaign to raise money for a homeless man, turned good samaritan was a hoax. Prosecutors said Mike D'Amico, Katie McClure, along with homeless man, Johnny Bobbit worked together to make up the entire good samaritan story to raise money for themselves.
After several scams like this, the Iowa Attorney General’s office is reminding people to thoroughly research charities, causes and the people you’re looking to give money to.
“Do google searches on the organization, look at the Better Business Bureau and see if they are registered with the state as a nonprofit,” Iowa Attorney General’s Communications Director Lynn Hicks said.
The Greater Des Moines Soap Box Derby said they used GoFundMe in 2017 to save their organization after all of their racing equipment was stolen.
“Without public support we wouldn’t have been able to purchase timers and a PA system and cars. It just came down to there was no money to replace what was stolen,” Elaine Kilby, a mom of a racer, said.
The group raised more than $10,000 through GoFundMe.
“It’s a wonderful resource and it is very disheartening that people have taken advantage of it because our organization would not have survived without people’s quick response,” Kilby said.
If you do fall victim to a scam, Hicks said there are several steps you can take.
“If it’s a legitimate crowdfunding site like GoFundMe, they have a process for you to make a claim and possibly ask for a refund. That’s number one. You can file a complaint with our office, go tour website and you’ll see the information on how to file a claim and then the FTC is cracking down on crowdfunding sites so file a complaint with them as well,” Hicks said.