'Give, But Give Wisely': GoFundMe Pages For Slain Crystal Lake Boy Stir Emotions—And a Warning - NBC Chicago

'Give, But Give Wisely': GoFundMe Pages For Slain Crystal Lake Boy Stir Emotions—And a Warning

Steve Bernas, the president of the Better Business Bureau, warned those who want to help to be diligent when picking a fundraiser to contribute to.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Crystal Lake Boy's Parents Each Held on $5M Bond

    An Illinois judge set bail at $5 million each for the parents of Andrew "AJ" Freund one day after the Crystal Lake couple was charged with murder in the death of their 5-year-old son. 

     

    (Published Thursday, April 25, 2019)

    GoFundMe has removed several pages claiming to raise cash in the name of a 5-year-old Crystal Lake boy who authorities say was killed by his parents.

    The pages that were removed violated GoFundMe's terms of service, a spokesperson said. They said there is a legitimate page and the funds will be released to Andrew "AJ" Freund's grandmother to be used for funeral costs and to support his brother. 

    A few hours after investigators found AJ's body Wednesday, the online appeals for help began popping up online. 

    One is hoping to raise $15,000 for funeral expenses and to help his little brother go to college. There's also a campaign looking to raise $250,000 to demolish the Dole Avenue house where the 5-year-old was killed and yet another for his mother to have a hysterectomy.

    Steve Bernas, the president of the Better Business Bureau, warned those who want to help to be diligent when picking a fundraiser to contribute to.

    "It is amazing, the stories they come up with, and we see time to time," Bernas told NBC 5. "They bank on people's emotions."

    He said scammers may be behind some of the online fundraising campaigns.

    "These are legitimate sites but you have to know who is putting that posting up," he said of websites like GoFundMe. "You never know where your money is going after you donate, there's no accountability."

    Berna's advice to those who do choose to give to online is to take your time, do your research and donate to organizations you trust. If you do fall victim to a scam, he says you should report it to the BBB.

    "Give, but give wisely," Bernas said.

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