Fake crowdfunding page rips off donors for WI NASCAR crewman's memorial

Posted at 10:24 PM, Oct 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-31 01:46:20-04

The family of a local NASCAR crew member said someone was trying to profit off their son's death.

Jim 'Wildman' Watson died earlier this month and someone used his name to raise more than $2,000 through a fundraising page.

NASCAR driver Martin Truex Jr. looked to the sky and raised up his fists after his win in Kansas on Oct. 22, the day after Watson passed away. Watson, a Greenfield native, was a crew member for the Furniture Row Racing team, one time working for Wisconsin native Matt Kenseth when he won Daytona 500.

The 55-year-old had the touch for getting cars through inspections before the races and he was self-taught.

"When he needed stuff for his racecar on the track we didn't have much money so most of the time he would build the part himself," said his mom Betty Watson.

Before he went to NASCAR, Watson was a standout, paint swapping driver at Hales Corner Speedway. His obsession with going fast started as a kid when he secretly built a racecar with his brother.

"I ended up being there every Saturday night to watch what he was doing," Betty Watson said.

About a decade ago, Watson packed up his wife and daughter to join NASCAR. But mom says he always made time to help others. It's why the family was stunned to find a link to a fake fundraising page popped up. It has since been removed. 

"In the end we found out it was a complete scam," said brother Mike Watson.

"Terrible, you take advantage of someone who just passes away," said Betty Watson.

That's why today they choose to remember the man Jim Watson was.

"He's just a hardworking guy who wanted to make cars go fast and win," said Mike Watson.'s spokesperson sent TODAY'S TMJ4 a statement in regards to the page Watson's family said was fake.

YouCaring uses state-of-the-art proprietary and third-party fraud prevention technologies to ensure that YouCaring has the safest and most reliable fundraising platform in the industry; for this fundraiser in particular, the page was reported and flagged. Our payment providers are chosen for their bank-grade encryption technology and their strong security track records. And our comprehensive trust and safety infrastructure closely monitors the site for misuse or abuse, taking action to keep both fundraisers and donors safe and secure.

If and when we identify fraud, we make sure that all funds are refunded to donors, in the form of a direct refund or a credit to the donor’s credit card or bank account. We encourage our member community to report any suspicious fundraisers via the Report feature on every Fundraiser page.

-Austin Kapur, Communications Manager