Scammers Are Starting Fake Crowdfunding Appeals After Mass Shootings
While crowdfunding websites like GoFundMe can provide necessary services (like helping people secure healthcare, which is not considered a necessary service, for some reason), they're also a hotbed for scammers. In recent years, such unsavory individuals have found a new grift: exploiting shootings for fun and profit.
After the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, which left 58 people dead, crowdfunding campaigns purporting to be for family members of the injured and deceased cropped up everywhere. This also happened after Parkland (2018, 17 dead) and Sutherland Springs (2017, 26 dead). In the aftermath of the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando (2016, 49 dead), a fraudulent campaign asked concerned citizens to dig deep and donate any Bitcoins they had laying around the house.
Outside of the U.S., scammers used the massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand (2019, 51 dead) as a basis for phishing emails that asked people to follow a link to donate to an "official" campaign. Instead it would take them to a website that would steal their bank login details.
But the prize for the worst scam goes to the people who targeted the families of the 22 people killed in El Paso in 2019. They contacted the bereaved while pretending to be from a nearby funeral home, and asked them for money for their "services." (The prize, by the way, is a trip to Hell.)
Gamers Used The Death Of A Soccer Player To Score E-Loot
On January 21, 2019, a light aircraft traveling from Nantes, France to Cardiff, Wales crashed into the sea, killing the pilot and its sole passenger: world-famous soccer player Emiliano Sala. The tragedy horrified sports fans around the world, and while tributes were being paid, a crowdfunding campaign intended to help find Sala's body -- as well as the wreckage of the plane -- raised nearly 300,000 pounds in only a few days.
Meanwhile, gamers enjoying the then-latest edition of FIFA were using the tragedy to make huge piles of in-game loot by selling Sala loot on the game's marketplace for ten times its normal price. (Something similar happened following the deaths of Davide Astori and Junior Malanda, as well as the plane crash that killed damn near an entire Brazilian soccer team.)
After an outpouring of anger, FIFA developer EA (*insert scare chord*) responded by removing Sala from the game and locking his marketplace value to its normal, pre-death level. Meaning that anyone who already owned Sala couldn't sell him for an extortionate amount ... well after everyone stopped caring.
Mark Zuckerberg Used A Devastated Puerto Rico For A VR Demonstration
Over the last decade, Facebook has been used to promote all manner of heinous shit, up to and including election interference, white supremacy, anti-vaccination conspiracy theories, dangerous pseudoscience, homophobia and transphobia, and genocide. Considering this swamp of sadness, it seems inconsequential to call founder Mark Zuckerberg out for using a disaster zone to hawk his latest gizmo, but fuck it, we're going to do that anyway. If nothing else, it'll give future generations something to read while watching his trial for crimes against humanity.