Northern Ireland

Anger over fake fundraising page linked to Derry hurling hero Liam Hinphey

Liam Hinphey, who died on Sunday at the age of 84. Picture: St Patrick's College, Dungiven
Liam Hinphey, who died on Sunday at the age of 84. Picture: St Patrick's College, Dungiven

A Co Derry GAA club has described a fake online fundraising page set up in the name of their late founder as "shocking".

The page on website GoGetFunding was discovered hours after the funeral on Tuesday of former Derry senior hurler and manager Liam Hinphey, who died on Sunday at the age of 84.

Mr Hinphey, who was well-known and respected across Co Derry and further afield, was a founder of Kevin Lynch Hurling Club in is home town of Dungiven, and was described by the Derry County Board following his death as someone who enjoyed "a life spent promoting and developing Gaelic games".

The sectretary of Kevin Lynch Hurling Club, Cathal  Ó hOisín described the "anger" felt by the club and Mr Hinphey's family after the fundraising page was discovered.

It had been published on the GoGetFunding site by someone imitating Mr Hinphey's wife, and appeared to request funds for his funeral.

The page has since been removed from the website.

Upon discovering the fake page, the Kevin Lynch club issued a warning on its social media channels, urging people not to make any donations through it.

"The unfortunate thing was that some monies had already been passed into it," Mr Ó hOisín said, adding that the page had "no authorisation from anybody in the club or in the family".

"It was very disappointing...and a lot of people were quite angry about it," he told Radio Ulster.

"It was a bit shocking really."

A spokesperson for GoGetFunding told the Irish News the page was removed and the company refunded "any funds we were able to".

"These types of campaigns are created by professional scammers who scour social media pages and news reports to create scam campaigns. They will often create legitimate looking campaigns and then once they are approved, edit them to become fake funeral campaigns," they said.

"This is a popular scam created by scammers across the world and on all types of crowdfunding platforms. They will link cloned social media accounts  - even reaching out to family directly - provide convincing death certificates and use identity cloaking methods to hide their IP and which country they are operating from.

"We of course ban and remove any that come to our attention via our own detection methods, but do also rely on people that bring these to our attention to help us remove these campaigns as quickly as possible."

Meanwhile, at Mr Hinphey's funeral in Dungiven's St Patrick’s Church, Fr Joseph Varghese described him as "a gifted sportsman and coach, an amazing raconteur, a great Irishman in many forms".

The former teacher, who taught at Dungiven's St Patrick's College, was later laid to rest at the church's adjoining cemetery.