JustGiving investigates 200 Manchester fundraising pages

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The UK's biggest fundraising site has put 200 Manchester bombing fundraising pages into quarantine over fears of fraud

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29th May 2017 by Susan Smith 0 Comments

Fundraising website JustGiving has put 200 Manchester bombing fundraising pages into quarantine and is investigating them over concerns about fake appeals.

The UK’s biggest charity fundraising site made the decision to quarantine the pages after other sites such as GoFundMe announced they had suspended suspect accounts. It means funds will not be distributed to the page owners until the website is confident that they are legitimate fundraising pages. 

The Charity Commission for England and Wales is now directing members of the public who wish to donate to the British Red Cross run We Love Manchester Fund.

That fund has raised more than £1m for the victims and families of the terrorist attack at the Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena last Monday.

The Manchester Evening News has also set up the JustGiving page, We Stand Together, which has raised over £1.8m from more than 50,000 donors. It is thought the two appeals will work together to make sure funds get to the people who need them.

However, hundreds of smaller fundraising pages have also been set up on JustGiving and other fundraising sites.

While JustGiving says it believes the vast majority are legitimate it announced it is taking the precaution of putting a number in quarantine, which means funds will not be released until the site is confident the money is reaching the right people.

A spokesman for JustGiving said: “The amazing generosity people have shown in the last few day have been truly inspiring.

"But to be safe, JustGiving takes extra precautions as part of our standard procedures to place all pages into quarantine which prevents any funds being paid until our team has worked with page owners to establish how to get the funds to the victims and their families. We are working with Greater Manchester Police to liaise with the families and we will continue to help however we can over the coming days and weeks.”

Meanwhile crowdfunding site GoFundMe said it had suspended a handful of accounts in the last week.

A spokesman said: "Since the attacks on Monday, we've had people monitoring related campaigns around the clock.

"The overwhelming majority of campaigns which have been started have been started with the very best intentions by kind people trying to do their bit for others.

"In situations like this one GoFundMe engages our emergency procedure – vetting every single campaign to check that they're safe for donors to give to.

"We do this by contacting organisers, making sure they are who they say they are and that they have a clear way of getting the money to the intended recipient.”

It is an unusual step for the Charity Commission to recommend a particular fundraising campaign.

David Holdsworth, chief operating officer of the Charity Commission, explained why it is now recommending We Love Manchester: "The British public are incredibly generous, especially in response to supporting those at times of suffering and need. Sadly, during such periods of especially generous giving, there is a small minority of those who seek to exploit that goodwill for fraudulent, selfish purposes.

"That is why we are encouraging people who wish to donate to give to the We Love Manchester fund, launched by the Lord Mayor of Manchester’s Charitable Appeal Trust, to ensure these funds reach those affected by the appalling attack in Manchester."

Mike Adamson, chief executive of the British Red Cross, said: "The funds raised will go to people affected by the devastating attack at Manchester Arena earlier this week. We have already seen a huge outpouring of support, and we encourage the public to keep giving generously to help ensure victims and their families get the help they need."

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