This viral baby shower scam shows why you shouldn't believe everything you read on the internet

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By this point in time, we've all read hundreds of 'feel good' viral stories on the internet, where someone in need gets the help they deserve because their story has been shared thousands of times.

This example, however, proves that you shouldn't believe everything you read online.

On 22 July, Dorothy Holmes of Zanesville, Ohio, took to Twitter to share a heartbreaking image of her 'best friend' and expectant mother Chelsie Collins, which purported to show her all alone at her baby shower, reports The Times Recorder.

The photos, which have now been deleted, wracked up more than 16,000 retweets, and showed Chelsie sitting despondently at a pink table, surrounded by balloons. Every chair at the table was empty, apart from one occupied by Chelsie's husband.

Accompanying the now deleted tweet, reports that Dory had written:

No one showed up to my best friends baby shower. Just my boyfriend and me :(

They also provided these screenshots of the purported original posts:

At the time of posting, many people were moved and upset by the story, and they shared their messages of condolence and support.

After their story gained traction online, Holmes posted a link to the woman's Walmart online baby registry, and it jumped from 10 low cost items, to over 300 items, with some costing more than $300.

Later in the day, Holmes also shared a link to a PayPal account, asking people to donate to the expecting mother. By the end of the day, the Walmart registry alone had raised $4,500 in merchandise, without including the price of gift cards.

However, when people saw the name of the PayPal account, some got suspicious, because the name on the account didn't seem to match the name of the supposed expectant mother.

Further, when they rang the restaurant that was supposed to have hosted the baby shower, it responded that people had actually showed up.

On 25 July, the Golden Corral Restaurant told The Times Reporter that between 12 and 15 people attended the shower.

In a string of tweets, one man used his expert skills as a sleuth to out the two fraudsters.

Some people noticed that the PayPal account details didn't match up.

He also revealed how the expectant mother in question had also reached out to Niki Minaj asking for money for her baby.

He then called the restaurant, which said that everyone had showed up.

He then reveals that the expectant mother used racist language on her Facebook account.

At the time of the incident, the local newspaper the Times Reporter contacted Holmes, who claimed that the scam was a 'joke we just went with'.

She also said:

We set up for 40 people, we sent out 70 invites

If there were 15 visitors I need to see where they were the whole time. There were multiple events going on at the same time but only me and my husband showed up at the baby shower for Chelsie.

In light of the scam, captain Chris Phipps of Zanesville Police Department, offered advice to anyone thinking of donating to charity, or to what they think is a good cause:

We always recommend, especially when it comes to online, that people look into the charity or person before giving. It's easy to feel bad for people.

So, the moral of the tale? Don't believe everything you read online - not everyone that says they're in need of help and support is telling the truth.


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