US crowdfunding site targeted by fake Keyham shooting scams


An American crowdfunding platform has been targeted by scammers who have set up fake appeals for the victims of the Keyham shootings.

Within just hours of the incident, which took place shortly after 6pm on Thursday August 12, the US site Plumfund was displaying an appeal to raise money for the victims, under the banner “Plymouth August 13th Survivors Fund”.

However, while it had posted five names, none of the names had been officially confirmed by the authorities and only some had been sent around on social media, which was then picked up by national newspapers. In addition, it clearly had the date of the incident wrong.

Read more: Plymouth people urged to put green hearts in their windows after shooting

The appeal also claimed that the money raised would go towards the local community, despite the website being hosted in the US and asking for US dollar donations.

PlymouthLive immediately alerted police and Plumfund chiefs to the post, requesting they investigate.

The Plumfund site in the US raises money for all manner of causes
The Plumfund site in the US raises money for all manner of causes

On Friday evening August 13 staff at the company wrote back PlymouthLive stating: “Thank you so much for reaching out about this account. I’m so sorry for any pain this has caused, we have investigated this account and found it to be fraudulent and removed it.

“I can assure you that no real donations were given to this account. All of the money that it looked like it raised were “cash pledges” entered by the account owner to make the account look valid, but due to your quick reporting and our fraud prevention measures, no real dollars were given to this account.”

However, late on Friday night, a second suspect account was posted on Plumfund using information released by police and a picture taken by national media from the Facebook page Lee Martyn, picturing him and his three-year-old daughter Sophie, both of whom were killed by the gunman. However, the site appeared to be using information initially released by police, including ages, which were later amended after it was realised two of the deceased’s ages were incorrect.

The site went onto claim that the people of Plymouth were “mourning the deaths of these six community members” – not realising that one of the six was, by this point, confirmed as gunman Jake Davison.

The post, titled “The Plymouth Survivors Fun” also claimed that the money would go towards the “National Compassion Fund”. There is no such organisation in the UK, although it does exist in the US, as a subsidiary of the National Centre for Victims of Crime, which is solely for US citizens.

PlymouthLive again immediately contacted the company via email and on August 16, shortly before 10pm, Plumfund replied.

The company stated: “Thank you so much for reporting this account as well. We take measures to block the IP address and any information we can find on those who set up false accounts, unfortunately, they often use fake IP addresses, names, and emails and set up multiple accounts.

“Luckily, it is very rare that they are able to get any money as they do not pass our PayPal verification step.

“Still, we understand this sort of situation can cause stress and pain, and we do everything we can to terminate false accounts as soon as possible.

“Do please let us know if we miss any that you see, but this one has been taken care of. Thank you for your time to report this to us, we appreciate the opportunity to shut these down.”

PlymouthLive has teamed up with Jeremiah's Journey to help the victims and those affected by the shooting
PlymouthLive has teamed up with Jeremiah’s Journey to help the victims and those affected by the shooting

PlymouthLive is currently working with the local charity Jeremiah’s Journey which provides free support to children, young people and their families who have experienced death. Charity volunteers and support workers have already been working in Keyham since the shooting to provide advice, support and help to families affected.

An appeal launched last week has already raised £29,600 which will help Jeremiah’s Journey’s excellent staff continue this vital work to rebuild families and communities across Plymouth. All funds raised will go towards helping the families in Keyham and the wider Plymouth area who need it most with advice, group sessions and bereavement support.

A spokeswoman for Plymouth charity Jeremiah’s Journey said: “In the immediate aftermath, it has been eerily quiet as locals protect themselves from media presence and feel a need to be safe following the impact of such a traumatic event.

Any donation, no matter how small, will help. Donate here

“Over time support for children and families directly affected will be required and resources provided when young people return to school. Many will experience the reawakening of their own past traumas and bereavements following the impact of such a tragedy in a tight knit neighbourhood.”

There are a number of 24-hour helplines if you need to speak to someone for support, advice or help.

We’ve listed some of them below;

SHOUT (85258) is a 24/7 UK crisis text service available for times when people feel they need immediate support.

By texting ‘SHOUT’ to ‘85258’ a Texter will be put in touch with a trained Crisis Volunteer (CV) who will chat to them using trained techniques via text. To get help or find out more about how Shout works, visit the Get Help page.

Victim Support is an independent charity dedicated to supporting victims of crime and traumatic incidents in England and Wales.

If you want to speak to someone now, call the free 24/7 Supportline – 08 08 16 89 111 or start a live chat.

Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at

Livewell Southwest provides integrated health and social care services for people across Plymouth and other parts of the region.

You can call the helpline on 0800 923 9323, which is the Livewell’s First Response Service. It is available to contact 24/7 by calling 0800 923 9323.

Livewell also run Chathealth, a text service used by health visitors and school nurses to support families and young people.

The service is available Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm, excluding bank holidays. During out–of–hours, anyone who texts the service will receive an automated message with advice on where to get help if their question is urgent.

Livewell ChatHealth 0-5 years Parents Service – 07480 635188
Livewell ChatHealth 5-10 years Parents Service – 07480 635189
Livewell ChatHealth 11-19 years Young Peoples Service – 07480 635198

Andy’s Man Club now has four groups across Devon (Plymouth, Newton Abbot, Torbay, Exeter). It provides men with a safe, non-judgemental, confidential place to chat and get stuff off your chest. To gain access during lockdown, any man over 18 can email

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Read next:

Plymouth pulls together and shows kindness during darkness

Lee and Sophie Martyn’s family release heartbreaking first picture after Plymouth shooting

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Read More:US crowdfunding site targeted by fake Keyham shooting scams