Scammers who allegedly tried to take advantage of the death of Hawke's Bay community champion Patrick Tama O'Brien by soliciting donations have been foiled by an online backlash.

A fake fundraising page, claiming to be raising money for the funeral of Pat, was set up on a website called GoGetFunding shortly after he was killed in a crash on the Hawke's Bay Expressway on Friday.

The "scam" was spotted by Theresa O'Brien, Patrick's grieving wife, who shared it on her Facebook page, warning people not to donate.

The page was then shared across social media, including by Napier mayor Kirsten Wise, with warnings that it was a scam.


Napier councillor Maxine Boag contacted the website, and asked them to remove the page.

Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise warned residents about the scam. Photo / Facebook
Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise warned residents about the scam. Photo / Facebook

It is understood no money was donated to the link before its removal.

Boag said she became aware of the scam when she saw it posted on Theresa's page.

She said it was horrible to think people would take advantage of a another family's tragedy.

She wanted people to be aware it is easy to get a fake page taken down.

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A spokeswoman for GoGetFunding confirmed the page had been taken down and the user deleted and blocked.

"It is very common across all crowdfunding platforms, not just ours, for fake or copycat campaigns to be created by fraudsters."

The scene of Friday's fatal crash. Photo / File
The scene of Friday's fatal crash. Photo / File

She said people target highly emotive campaigns, such as funerals, because donors do not tend to be as guarded. "They may not even consider someone would be heartless enough to create such an account."

She said the organisation has several measures in place to try to minimise the number of scam fundraisers appearing on the site, but they can be difficult to catch.

Her advice before donating is for people to ask themselves if they were referred to the page by family or friends, or if not, whether the link was found via a reputable source, such as a newspaper or television programme.

If people were concerned about a page, she recommended getting in contact with the customer service team so they can investigate.

Manager consumer protection at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Mark Hollingsworth, said it's important to stop and think whether a cause is real before donating.

"Scammers do impersonate genuine charities or crowdfunding platforms to seek donations or contact you claiming to collect money after a local, national or global natural disaster or event.

"The safest way to donate on social media or through crowdfunding platforms is to donate to people you know who contact you about a particular initiative."

Hollingsworth said only use credit cards to donate money, not cash, gift card, voucher, or by money wire, and only after doing some research.

"If you believe you have given money or personal details to a scam, contact your bank and the police immediately."

There is no official page to donate to Pat's family.

Police were contacted for comment on Monday.