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GoFundMe says it'll refund those who donated to Bettendorf woman's fake cancer fundraiser

Anyone who donated to the "Maddie's Fight Against Pancreatic Cancer" campaign doesn't need to worry. Refunds are available through a simple form.

BETTENDORF, Iowa — In the fallout of the arrest of the 19-year-old woman who allegedly faked a cancer diagnosis to solicit over $37,000 from community members on the crowdfunding platform GoFundMe, many might be wondering if they're able to take back their donations.

Good news: they can.

As part of continued talks with News 8 in the wake of the incident, GoFundMe shared a statement regarding the fake fundraiser and its donation policy.

"GoFundMe has a zero-tolerance policy for misuse of our platform and cooperates with law enforcement investigations of those accused of wrongdoing. GoFundMe’s Giving Guarantee offers donors a full refund in the rare case when something isn’t right; this is the first and only donor protection guarantee in the fundraising industry."

Donors are able to visit www.gofundme.com/contact/suggest/donor to fill out a claim form to receive help from the company.

The form requires the donor's full name, phone number, e-mail address, the link to the fraudulent campaign (which can be accessed by clicking/tapping here), the way they came to know of the fundraiser or its beneficiary and the reason for the refund. 

Donors can also provide a short statement of their concerns as well as any relevant photo evidence in the form of a JPEG or PNG image or a PDF file.

Eldridge police are also asking those who donated to Russo's fundraiser to contact the department at 563-285-3916 or by emailing them at police@cityofeldridge.org.

The investigation into the incident is still ongoing, and community members are encouraged to assist investigators as they attempt to locate and inform people and businesses that donated to the campaign. Russo was released from the Scott County Jail after posting bond.

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