Lupita Gonzalez couldn’t believe it. She noticed peculiar charity jars inside two local stores in Bakersfield, California. The jars were there to accept donations toward funeral services for a woman.
When Lupita looked at the image of the woman the tip jars were raising money for, she recognized the face immediately. It was one of her photos.
She was the woman in the photograph.
Someone had stolen Lupita’s photo and was scamming people for unnecessary donations. Lupita was mortified.
“Supposedly, I’m dead. But I’m not,” Lupita said. “I’m very alive.”
She had been alerted to the jars after a family member called her mother. They asked if Lupita had died — only to discover the worst fears had not in fact come true.
“They’re like, ‘Hey, why didn’t you let us know, you know, about our little cousin, that she passed?” Lupita recalled.
When Lupita asked store owners about the tip ars, they told her a man asked if he could display them. Believing it was for a good cause, they’d obliged.
The jars claimed a woman named Enriquetta Nunez died, and her family couldn’t afford to bury her.
Lupita was furious. Eventually, police were able to nab the alleged scammer and charge him with both misdemeanor and felony counts.
Lupita donated the money collected by the scam to a few local churches.
The Doctors discussed the unbelievable scam. They suggested it all began because people freely post their images on social media. Dr. Travis Stork asserted that everyone should keep their photos private and that, if you do post them publicly, to use low-resolution photos that are harder to copy.
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