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A Tiktoker Scammed People, raised Ksh.5M On GoFundMe, through Her Fake Journey battling Cancer

Post by : Hillary Musyoki

Tiktok Is Known For its Video trends, where it allows people to record themselves and enjoy the app. But as the application keeps on growing so do scammers on the web.

A 19-year old girl, a Tiktok Content creator, Madison Russo allegedly used social media to spread awareness about her battle with cancer and to raise $40,000 on Go Fund Me.

But the entire performance was a scam according to Iowa police, who charged Russo with theft.

The young girl apparently raised more than $37,303 from 439 donors. Russo falsely claimed she suffered from acute lymphoblastic leukemia, stage 2 pancreatic cancer, and a tumor the “size of a football” that wrapped around her spine,” according to news release from the Eldrige Police Department.

How was she discovered?

Police said anonymous witnesses with medical experience indicated medical errors in Russo’s social media presence to the investigating officer. A subpoena for Russo’s medical order found out , Russo had” never been diagnosed with any kind of cancer or tumor from any medical facilities within the Quad Cities or surrounding cities,” according to the release/

Russo, a resident of Bettendorf, Iowa , was arrested for theft by means of deception on January 23, says the release.

Police are still working to identify Russo’s victims of the theft. Apart from Go found me donations, Russo also accepted private donations from other businesses, non-profit organizations, school districts and private citizens.

The GoFundMe organization told CNN they recovered the fundraiser, banned Russo and refunded the money to the donors.

“Go Fund Me has zero tolerance policy for misuse of our platform and cooperates with law enforcement investigations of those accused of wrong doings,” said the organization.

“All donors have been refunded and we have removed this fundraiser. The beneficiary has also been banned from using the platform for any future fundraisers. GoFundMe’s Giving Guarantee offers a full refund in the rare cases when something isn’t right, this is the first and only donor protection guarantee in the crowdfunding industry.”

Russo did the unimaginable, she conducted interviews with the press and shared her story on social media.

In October 2022, Russo spoke with the Eldridge-based North Scott Press for a profile focused on her experience with cancer. Not only did she do that, she also discussed her cancer journey as a guest speaker at St. Ambrose University and the National Pancreatic Foundation in Chicago.

Also Read: ‘Love Scam’ Kenyan Woman Sentenced to 7 years for Swindling Americas through Social Media Websites

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