Perhaps off topic, but certainly related in my mind. This past year and half I have been a witness to a really questionable (brilliant?) act. A girl I met at my
prestigious snobby uni is a victim of a rare disease and required several neuro-surgeries to improve her quality of life (there's no cure).
Despite her parents' high net worth/income (which includes some prime real-estates in high cost cities such as NYC, London, SF, and others. Easily 2 million each.), they opted to hire a marketing professional (a family friend) and started a crowdfunding campaign (on-going still) that has raised over $600K USD through various channels including local/regional churches, the internet, and local/industry newspapers and journals. It is quite clear from the crowdfunding website, thousands of less financially fortunate people had donated to their cause.
Granted, no two patients have the exact same condition, but another person with the same disease who had also undergone similar surgeries ended up with a bill around $170K USD. Yet another person with the same disease, albeit more severe and required for corrective surgeries had a bill around $250K USD. Then I learned that the girl and her families had been using the funds raised to pay for first/business class flights and lux hotels so the girl could receive her treatments. The family friend's cut so far is around $40K if I am not mistaken.
What makes the whole thing comical is that she is touting that her strength, courage, and positivity are the main factors for her miraculous recovery and she is transitioning into a motivational idol/icon of sorts to give people hope. These days she seems to live a very socially active life, but every 3 month or so there would be a new pledge because she needs further treatments. These are real treatments as far as I can tell, but she seems to recover and go back to her usual live around 3-5 days after each treatment.
This is by no means a scam, it however, shows how uninformed people can be, and how eager they are willing to part with their hard earned cash with a little push.