Fake donation site for lone plane crash survivor taken down

Fake donation site for lone plane crash survivor taken down
Wade Berzas, the sole survivor of a plane crash in Lafayette, La., is in critical condition at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center (Source: KATC.com)

LAFAYETTE, La. (WAFB) - A plane crash in Lafayette that killed five and seriously injured others brought about many emotions. Unfortunately, criminals and con-artists take advantage of tragedies like this in an attempt to siphon money from those wishing to help the victims and their families.

Sharane Gott with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana called the plane crash a “horrible event.”

"Everybody’s heart is just full of emotion and scammers take advantage of that,” Gott said. And they didn’t take long.

More: Vigils, memorials, services planned for victims of deadly Lafayette plane crash

A scammer used the name and picture of crash survivor Wade Berzas to create a fake page on Gogetfunding.com with a $5,000 goal. The page originally said the money raised will go to medical expenses.

“If it’s on a GoFundMe site, eventually you will be able to know, but there’s no magic wand,” explained Gott. “Now, if it’s not on GoFundMe, which is an accredited business that you can trust, then I would say be very cautious.”

Berzas’ family has said they did not authorize the site, nor do they know where it came from.

“Most people respect GoFundMe. So what happens is, crooks use part of that to get that legitimacy, to get that credibility, and then we don’t read the whole thing or we don’t mouse over to see what the exact website is and so we don’t really know," Gott warned.

The fake fundraising page for Wade Berzas was shut down as of Tuesday morning.

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