A teen with fake cancer scammed people for $37,000 but then viewers noticed red flags in her cancer selfies

Anita Durairaj

Image of a patientPhoto byAlexander GreyonUnsplash

An article in the New York Post describes how a TikTok scammer could have gotten away with it if it hadn't been for the sharp eyes of some of her viewers.

Madison Russo, aged 19, was charged with scamming hundreds of donors out of more than $37,000.

She told her TikTok viewers that she had Stage 2 pancreatic cancer and acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She also claimed that she had a "tumor the size of a football that was wrapped around her spine."

After documenting her fake cancer battle on TikTok, she was able to raise more than $37,000 using a GoFundMe page.

Madison created a false narrative about her diagnosis, treatment, and recovery, and used TikTok to spread her fabricated story.

However, her fabricated story did not go far when viewers especially those who were medical professionals started to notice red flags.

The first red flag was that she appeared healthy. A person with pancreatic cancer and leukemia would go downhill very fast.

The second red flag was mentioning that she had pancreatic cancer which suddenly turned into leukemia or blood cancer. Normally pancreatic cancers do not just metastasize into blood cancers.

The third red flag was noticed in Madison's cancer selfies. Her medical equipment was inaccurately placed on her body.

Later, when investigators searched her apartment, they found a bag full of medical supplies, pills, an IV pole, and a wig. Also, there were no records that she had been treated for cancer in any hospital.

Fortunately, Madison's scam was discovered and the money she received from her donors was returned back to them. Now she will face charges and a possible prison sentence for fraud.

Madison's fake cancer story is a lesson to everyone on social media. It's important to remember that not everything you see on social media is true, and it's always a good idea to critically assess the information presented before accepting it as factual.

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Trained with a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Cincinnati, I write unique and interesting articles focused on science, history, and current events.


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