Are people crossing the line with GoFundMe?

North Wind Staff

It is the last resort of those who were normally too proud to beg. A website devoted to helping those in need, GoFundMe is the Internet’s version of a good Samaritan, connecting perfect strangers united through hard times.re-KanyeCartoon

Spending half an hour on the website is enough to put you through the whole gamut of human grief. On any given visit, there are people who’ve lost their homes to fire, parents trying to take a child dying of brain cancer on one last trip, funeral funds for two newlyweds who were killed in a tragic car accident. There are urban schoolchildren too poor to take a trip abroad, but with too much potential to let their disadvantages get in the way.

Lately, the website that does so much good has come under scrutiny from people who say it’s become a haven for scam artists, “freeloaders” and even broke celebrities to get hard working people to part with their cash. Rap musician Kanye West made headlines last week when one of his serious fans, Jeremy Piatt, created a GoFundMe account to help the industry mogul dig out of $50 million in debt. At press time, the account had raised just over $8,000, but representatives for West have announced they will not accept the money.

Remember the record PowerBall drawing that was supposed to make everyone rich last month? A Tennessee woman who spent her life savings on lottery tickets and came away empty-handed set up a GoFundMe so she could recoup what she had lost playing the game. Her goal was $100,000, but the website shut her account down after it generated a slew of media
backlash.

Where does one draw the line when it comes to asking for money? Would you consider donating to that former acquaintance from high school seeking money for a very posh wedding without offering an invite? What about that one hypothetical co-worker who just bought a new car and is now asking for help paying for a dream vacation to Costa Rica? In 2014, two college friends set up an account solely for the purpose of flying cross-country to Los Angeles for a week of drunken debauchery.

While it’s definitely stooping to a new level in shamelessness to beg your friends to finance extravagant endeavors, whether the begging is successful relies on one’s willingness to give. Ultimately, the choice is yours, and GoFundMe seems to be very good at regulating and removing accounts that don’t meet their terms of use. For those that slip through, however, nobody is forcing anyone to donate—so if you’re feeling generous, more power to you.