A father-of-five who set up a fundraising page to pay for his children’s Christmas presents has been targeted by scammers posing as him online.
Ben Buckley set up a GoFundMe page to raise £2,000 after he cut back his hours at work when his wife suffered complications while pregnant with their fifth child.
But the 32-year-old has now warned people not to donate to fundraisers set up using his name and picture, asking well-wishers to pay £3,000 towards his birthday.
Ben Buckley set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to pay for his children’s Christmas presents
Mr Buckley, who lives in a terraced house in Hull, thanked well-wishers for their donations
The fake fundraiser, which has now been taken down, was called ‘Ben Buckley Birthday Fund’.
On his GoFundMe, Mr Buckley wrote: ‘I haven’t and will not make another go fund me page.
‘Someone is using my image of me to make additional pages please ignore these they have no affiliation to me at all. I only started this one out of desperation for my kids not for myself, thank you.’
Mr Buckley had asked for donations because he ‘doesn’t want his children to be miserable at this time of year’ – and raised £2,075 in a matter of hours.
Speaking from his home in Hull, East Yorkshire, this morning, Mr Buckley said he couldn’t believe the reaction the fundraiser received.
He said: ‘I have thanked everybody. I have had emails of support and I have been personally replying to everyone thanking them back.’
Despite his appreciation of reaching his target, he said his family had received a ‘backlash’ from the public.
He added: ‘I am definitely happy to have reached the target but it hasn’t come without its negative side either.
‘It was completely not what I expected. I never expected what happened and the backlash I have received from it, against my family.’
Mr Buckley was raising money so that his five children (pictured together with newborn Jessica) can enjoy Christmas
After raising the money in just one day, he thanked wellwishers, writing: ‘I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone, all your kind messages and donations have been overwhelmingly kind.
‘I honestly can’t thank you all enough my self and my family appreciate all your generosity enormously and it will never be forgotten. To everybody who posted negative comments we are sorry if we caused any offence or upset anyone, this was never our intention.
‘We never expected this amount of kindness or media attention. In the new year we are going to make it one of our priorities to make monthly donations to other go fund me accounts. We wish everyone a very merry Christmas and thank you again to all you kind hearted souls.’
Mr Buckley’s wife fell pregnant earlier this year but was admitted to hospital on several occasions with a lung infection.
He reduced his working hours to care for his family, and while he says his wages will cover the rent and bills, he was ‘panicking’ about how he would afford gifts for his children.
The 32-year-old from Hull started the fundraising campaign (pictured) after his wife Kirsty, 35, suffered complications while pregnant with their fifth child, forcing him to reduce his hours and lose money
He said: ‘My partner fell pregnant earlier this year and it was quite complicated. We had ups and downs over the last few months.
‘My contract at work was only 24 hours per week but I did overtime up to 45 hours to make it up. I ended up suffering for a few months when I didn’t get my full wage.
‘We don’t have a big family network. My mum and dad only make enough to fund themselves so they couldn’t help, so I didn’t know where to turn and what to do.
‘We just need a bit of help. I’m struggling and panicking.’
Mr Buckley started his campaign on November 16 and had raised some £85 on Monday morning. By the afternoon he was up to £2,015.
Mr Buckley says he ‘feels ashamed and awful’ but is asking for donations towards his £2,000 total because he ‘doesn’t want his children to be miserable at this time of year’
On his GoFundMe page he wrote: ‘I understand that this isn’t anything compared to others problems on hear and I feel awfull having to ask for this help [sic].’
Mr Buckley said he and his wife were told their baby may have been born with Down Syndrome.
While she was born earlier this month without the condition, the parents say they are still riddled with anxiety ahead of the festive season.
Mr Buckley adds: ‘Because of all this I had to take a fair amount of time off work in the last month’s thinking I was going to be supported by my work place I didn’t worry to much about money.[sic]
‘But it turns out my main boss had a problem with it and I’m not going to be getting paid like I expected to be.
‘This should be a happy time for us all but under the surface of it all for mee and my partner it’s nothing but anxiety and worry about what’s to come and what we are to tell the kids and many other things.[sic]’
A spokesman for GoFunMe told MailOnline: ‘The campaign in question has been removed. All donors on GoFundMe are 100% protected thanks to our guarantee to return donations in case of misuse, which you can read more about here gofundme.com/guarantee. We wish Ben and his family a very merry Christmas.’
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