Updated on Feb 20, 2020. Posted on Feb 20, 2020

    A Teen Was Minding Her Business When She Found Out A Stranger Created A GoFundMe Using Her Selfie

    "I was upset that people with good hearts were being scammed like that."

    This is 17-year-old college student Safia Barkadle.

    Over the weekend, someone created a GoFundMe campaign titled "Help With My Babysisters Funeral" using Barkadle's selfie. She told BuzzFeed News that she thought it was a prank at first.

    Screenshot / GoFundMe

    She said: "My sister showed me after my cousin sent her the link asking if the GoFundMe was me.

    "At first I thought it was a prank but some of my friends began sending me the same thing.

    "My friends and family were all confused, bombarding me with questions. It was all unbelievable that someone would do something so ridiculous like this."

    The description of the GoFundMe claimed that the person in the photo was "Hani Yusuf" and that she had passed away in her sleep in early February. They wrote that they were in debt and could not afford to pay for her funeral.

    In response, people started donated thousands of dollars to the fraudulent campaign.

    Barkadle said she reported the fundraiser to GoFundMe but noticed that people were still donating.

    So Barkadle made a video to let people know that the campaign was not genuine. She told BuzzFeed News: "I was upset that people with good hearts were being scammed like that."


    The video went viral over the weekend and was shared on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

    People were disgusted.

    People taking deets to sickening levels man. Be careful where you donate your money guys pls https://t.co/DATBY27wSO

    huh. people are sick https://t.co/U9dD7KBHWX

    A spokesperson for GoFundMe told BuzzFeed News that everyone who donated will be receiving a refund.

    They said: "No money was sent to the fundraiser in this campaign. GoFundMe holds funds while we verify the authenticity of individuals and their stories. All campaigns are subject to some level of vetting before funds are released.

    "We received reports that the campaign was fraudulent, investigated, and banned the campaign. All those who donated will get their money back."

    The spokesperson continued: "As you may know, GoFundMe is the only fundraising platform backed by a guarantee, which means that all donors, campaign organisers and beneficiaries are protected by a refund policy in the rare event their funds don't get to the right place."

    Ikran is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

    Contact Ikran Dahir at ikran.dahir@buzzfeed.com.

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