Keeping crowdfunding safe: GIVE.Asia found conman falsely raising funds for dead baby
When Give.Asia's chief development officer Dennis Yeo wanted to verify information from a mother claiming to raise funds for her baby's funeral, he found something amiss.
The woman's baby had died but she was not seeking donations. Mr Yeo realised someone else was trying to profit from her loss.
Give.Asia is an online platform that has raised almost $17.8 million for charity campaigns over seven years.
Last week, The New Paper reported on a campaign on Give.Asia that raised funds for babies' milk and diapers. Earlier this month, a Singaporean raised more than $250,000 to evacuate her father from Tokyo after he suffered a heart attack. He died soon after returning.
Give.Asia is run mostly by volunteers, most of whom are Singaporeans.
On the dead baby's case, Mr Yeo told TNP: "We took a while to contact the mother because she lives overseas. We found her baby had died but someone was using her name to get funds, so we closed the campaign and refunded all donations."
Give.Asia, which uses an algorithm to verify claims, was started in 2009 by two National University of Singapore undergraduates. Co-founders Aseem K. Thakur and Pong Yu Ming wanted to make it easier for people to donate to charitable causes.
Organisations such as the Kidney Dialysis Foundation (KDF) and Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) Community Fund use Give.Asia.
KDF fundraising director Watson Ong said: "As we were organising our inaugral Millennium Ride in 2013, we heard about Give.Asia and thought it was an exciting way to raise funds. KDF has raised over $208,000 through Give.Asia."
TTSH Community Fund executive director Eunice Toh said the hospital had been looking for an online platform to raise funds when it came across Give.Asia in 2011.
"It offered a simple way for the community to donate and is widely used by registered charities. When we found it was a social enterprise, we thought we would lend it some support".Mr Thakur said: "We believe there is a giver inside all of us. It's with the help of all the givers around us that we managed to make giving and seeking help better for everyone."