Newberg Woman Falls Victim to Facebook Scam Crying Child Cancer Reported by: Jenny Hansson
NEWBERG, Ore. — Jennifer Rodriguez spent weeks praying for little Bianca Keena, a little girl dying from cancer.
In fact, Rodriguez of Newberg even sent the girl’s aunt pieces for a quilt, and she later saw a picture of those quilt pieces on Bianca’s Facebook page, “From the Heart for Bianca.”
The problem is, it was all fake.
“I was basically heartbroken. I prayed for this little girl daily, and to find out it’s a lie, you just feel really used,” Rodriguez said.
Some of the frequent visitors to the “From the Heart for Bianca” page started getting suspicious when Bianca’s ‘aunt’ started writing how often the girl would have sudden cardiac arrests, or how her fever remained at 107 degrees. That ‘aunt’ is named April Brown, and she lives in Dayton, Ohio.
While her name and address check out, those who were suspicious did some digging, and also found aliases used by Brown.
Then, a Google image search of the photos of the girl found that they had been photo shopped. One of the page’s users would post comments, questioning the validity of the page and story, but those comments would be deleted. That prompted the woman to create her own Facebook page called “Bianca Keena Exposed.”
No surprise, soon after, the “From the Heart for Bianca” page was taken down. However, this was after many people across the country had sent April Brown money, gifts and gift cards, all for the little girl who was supposedly dying from cancer.
“That’s the sickening part,” Rodriguez said. “I would never wish that on my children or an enemy. You would never wish even on your worst enemy for somebody’s child to go through this.”
Rodriguez has contacted Dayton, Ohio police, and they are looking into the claims. A spokesman with the Oregon Attorney General’s Office (AG) tells KOIN that these cases can be hard to prosecute because of the many states involved. He said federal authorities could potentially pursue charges.
In the meantime, the AG suggests anyone who has fallen victim to this scam contact the Bureau of Consumer Protection at 503-229-5576.
Investigate before you give, to avoid charity scams and frauds. The best way to avoid being scammed is to donate money to reputable humanitarian organizations with a history of providing assistance in disasters and other situations.