SALT LAKE CITY (KSTU) -- Several scammers attempted to profit off an 8-year-old Idaho girl being treated at the University of Utah’s burn unit in Salt Lake City.
Aaliyah Shepard is undergoing painful treatment for third-degree burns over 25 percent of her body after a candle lit her shirt on fire Dec. 14.
More than $14,000 already donated to the family caught the attention of scammers hoping to exploit the generosity of strangers. A week after the accident, a GoFundMe campaign asking for $5,000 popped up. A woman supposedly from Georgia was pretending to be Aaliyah’s mother, even copying Facebook postings.
When confronted, the scammer wrote, “I’m still going to do it” and reportedly hoped that Aaliyah would die.
The family is aware of two other bogus campaigns.
The Federal Trade Commission warns people should not assume pleas for help on social media or on crowdfunding sites are legitimate. Instead, pay directly with a check or credit card.
GoFundMe has since removed the fake campaigns and refunded the money. Salt Lake Police are investigating.