Lucy Wieland, 27, was charged with one count of fraud for allegedly creating a fundraising scam after lying about having cancer. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Lucy Wieland, 27, was charged with one count of fraud for allegedly creating a fundraising scam after lying about having cancer. Picture: Alix Sweeney

GoFundMe to refund on ‘sham’ campaigns

GULLIBLE donors deceived into funding sham crowd-funding projects will get their money back under new regulations to be announced by GoFundMe.

The move comes less than a week after the world's largest social fundraising platform agreed to refund all donations made to Townsville alleged fraudster Lucy Wieland, 27, who was accused of faking cancer to raise $55,000.

Wieland has been charged with one count of fraud for dishonestly obtaining property from another.

GoFundMe CEO Rob Solomon said the platform would also scrap its platform fees and would rely on voluntary contributions from donors to cover costs.

The move would bring the Australian operation in line with the US, UK and Canada; however, standard processing fees would still apply.

Mr Solomon said GoFundMe's new guarantee meant donors who found evidence of misuse or deception would be entitled to a refund of up to $1000.

GoFundMe will also make donations up to $25,000 to the intended recipient of funds if the campaign organiser fails to deliver the money.

"GoFundMe wouldn't exist without the empathy of our giving community, and the GoFundMe guarantee is about protecting their generosity," Mr Solomon said.

"We want there to be complete peace of mind when giving on our platform and the guarantee adds an unparalleled layer of security to all stages of the giving experience.

"Donors and campaign organisers are fully protected."

GoFundMe also released new data showing Australians had started more than 100,000 campaigns, raising more than $200 million to date.

Last year, more than 700,000 donors from about 150 countries donated to Australian GoFundMe campaigns.