GiveSendGo Back Online After Hack Targeting Canadian ‘Freedom Convoy’ Protests

By Jack Jenkins
Canada convoy truck
Truck drivers and others protest COVID-19 pandemic restrictions in Ottawa, Ontario, on Feb. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)

Controversial Christian crowdfunding website GiveSendGo is back online after being hacked over the weekend, with digital attackers leaking the names and emails of people who donated to the ongoing protest against pandemic restrictions in Canada spearheaded by truck drivers.

GiveSendGo addressed the hack in a tweet Tuesday morning, saying the website was “attacked by malicious actors attempting to eliminate the ability of its users to raise funds.”

“GiveSendGo has a dedicated team aggressively focused on identifying these malicious actors and pursuing actions against their cybercrime,” read the statement.

The hackers targeted contributors to the so-called Freedom Convoy protest that has halted traffic at some U.S. border crossings, ground parts of Ottawa to a halt and spurred Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to activate emergency powers in an effort to shut down the demonstration. The catalyst for the protest, which arrived in the country’s capital in late January, was Trudeau’s requirement that truckers quarantine if they are unvaccinated and cross the U.S.-Canada border.

Although Canada is one of the most vaccinated countries in the world — including most of its truckers, according to Trudeau — the protest has grown into a broader symbolic pushback against all pandemic restrictions, including masks, lockdowns and vaccine mandates.

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The demonstrators initially used the more mainstream fundraising website GoFundMe for their efforts, quickly accruing millions of dollars. But GoFundMe took down the donation page in early February, saying it violated the site’s terms of service.

The move outraged many conservatives in the U.S. but spurred demonstrators to utilize GiveSendGo, which has actively promoted the protest fundraiser. The shift to the Christian website, in turn, quickly encountered resistance: Last week, a Canadian judge issued an order halting access to funds housed in the website, and the Canadian government has warned it will freeze the bank accounts of truckers who continue to form blockades.

GiveSendGo noted in its statement that no money was stolen in the hack and credit card information was not exposed.

“We are in a battle,” the statement read. “We didn’t expect it to be easy. This has not caused us to be afraid. Instead, it’s made it even more evident that we can not back down. Thank you for your continued support, prayers and the countless emails letting us know you are standing with us.”

The hack, which made the website largely unusable until Tuesday morning, was conducted with a dramatic flair. According to a video captured by a Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reporter, the website was temporarily replaced with a video from the Disney movie “Frozen II” on Sunday night, as well as the words “GiveSendGo is NOW FROZEN!” As the clip played, a column of yellow text scrolled across it addressed to “GiveSendGo Grifters and Hatriots.”

“GiveSendGo has a history of providing a platform for individuals and organized groups to fund hate groups, promote disinformation and insurrection disguised as ‘protests,’” the text read. “Most of their larger campaigns are, in some way, a continuing threat to democracy.”

GiveSendGo, which describes itself as the “#1 free Christian crowdfunding site,” has become a popular alternative fundraising website among U.S. conservatives in recent years, particularly among outspoken Christian nationalists. The site garnered widespread attention in August 2020 for hosting a fundraiser for Kyle Rittenhouse — a teenager charged and later acquitted after shooting three people, two fatally, during racial justice protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Months later, the website also hosted funding campaigns for the leader of the right-wing extremist group Proud Boys and for Ali Alexander, an activist who helped to organize the Stop the Steal movement that gathered people in Washington, D.C., ahead of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

GiveSendGo has also been promoted by the founder of Gab, an alternative social media website popular with conservatives. GiveSendGo has an active account on the site — its statement on the hack was listed as one of Gab’s most popular posts on Tuesday — and advertises on the platform.

According to the CBC, faith is a mainstay of the trucker-led protest in Ottawa, Canada, with sermons delivered from protest stages, participants citing God as inspiration and demonstrators holding signs emblazoned with Scripture. Their financial supporters appear to share the sentiment: A Vice News analysis of leaked, illegally hacked GiveSendGo data from 92,000 trucker protest donors revealed that messages attached to their contributions contained more than 13,000 references to “God” or “Jesus.”

The analysis also revealed that most of the donations appeared to originate from the U.S., where anti-vaccine and anti-mandate sentiment has emerged as a rallying cry for a vocal minority of religious people in the U.S. 

At one point, a Protestant minister reportedly asked people to pray for Canada, saying it has deviated from its Christian foundation.

GiveSendGo says it intends to stay vigilant against hacks.

“We have also performed many security audits to ensure the security of the site before bringing the site back online,” the statement read.

Jack Jenkins is an award-winning journalist and national reporter for the Religion News Service.

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13 thoughts on “GiveSendGo Back Online After Hack Targeting Canadian ‘Freedom Convoy’ Protests”

  1. Jennifer L Petrey

    Why do you have to denigrate GiveSendGo by calling it controversial? How about GoFundMe when it funded riots and MURDER a la BLM?

    1. By calling it “controversial,” Mr. Jenkins was not denigrating GiveSendGo. He was simply stating fact. Controversial simply means “giving rise or likely to give rise to public disagreement.” There’s clearly public disagreement about GiveSendGo. And by reporting it, we’re not taking sides; just doing our job.

  2. Guilt by association, innuendos, and reporting illegally hacked information by an award-winning journalist? This is restoring the church?
    I note calling the fund raising site “controversial” but none of the government actions, including jailing pastors or outlawing Christian counseling for those asking for help with unwanted same-sex attractions.

    1. I fail to see any of the things you’ve mentioned in Jack’s article. He simply reported the facts surrounding the illegal hack. He did not report any illegally hacked information, nor “innuedoes.” This is a solid report, informing people of the facts surrounding the situation. It makes no judgments one way or the other.

      As for reporting on government actions… That would be outside the purview of The Roys Report. We don’t report on governments; we report on Christian leaders and organizations. We would not be running this story if GiveSendGo did not profess to be a Christian site.

      1. Julie, the Defenders of the Faith Truth Squad have started coming out of the woodwork.

        “Throw a rock into a pack of junkyard dogs and the one that YELP!s is the one who got hit.”

      2. The hack is illegal, but so is what some protestors are doing with the money they are raising – illegally blocking the freedom of movement by other people and businesses. My main criticism is that I see an overwhelming majority of reports as critical of some impropriety in some local church or by some people, generally inconsequential in the larger scheme of events, when there are lots and lots of good things happening because of Christianity. That part is getting ignored in the series of bad things by some Christians, I am not sure how that will restore any church.

        1. We try to publish as many positive stories as possible. (I consider this one neutral.) With the constant reports of abuse and corruption in the church, it’s definitely hard to keep pace. That said, there is biblical precedent for calling out sin publicly (the O.T. prophets, for example, or Paul confronting Peter for not eating with gentiles.) Restoration does not happen without there first being confession and repentance. Though I’m sure many Christian would want to bury the sin in their midst, that didn’t turn out well for Achan and the Israelites and it won’t for us either.

          1. In fact 1 Cor 6 is pretty clear “Suppose one of you wants to bring a charge against another believer. Should you take it to ungodly people to be judged? Why not take it to the Lord’s people? …..When you take another believer to court, you have lost the battle already.” Such allegations should be addressed by the local believers, not for judgments from the larger public, when the larger public make their judgment, we have already lost.

          2. Most of these accounts on Biblical violations are inconsequential to the outside world, other than for the local Christian community. If the Pope or the head of the Southern Baptists do something bad, that certainly needs more publicity. My concern is by constantly bringing sins of Christian people, who many of us never even heard of such as pastors of some local church, we are giving the impression that Christianity is full of wrongdoers.

  3. Persecuted would be a better adjective for GiveSendGo than controversial. This article is clearly taking sides. Calling GiveSendGo controversial because it’s a Christian fundraising site that puts liberty before tyranny and does not steal people’s money – and calling GoFundMe mainstream because it is secular, allows violent left wing extremists to raise money and does try to steal money from conservative / freedom-loving causes, demonstrates a crystal clear bias. If you want to call GiveSendGo controversial because there are people who don’t like what they do, then GoFundMe should be considered ultra-controversial, since the controversy around their decisions is far more reasonable. GiveSendGo has withstood these attacks against them like a shining star and all Christians should give their business to them instead of GoFundMe.

    1. I’m not going to defend every group that fundraises on GoFundMe. However in light of their platforming for Proud Boys,Ali Alexander and Kyle Rittenhouse, calling “GiveSendGo” a shining star” and an organizations “all Christians should give their business to” seems a bit of a stretch.
      Good reporting in this article. It’s tough, but revealing to see the unfortunate connections between many supposedly “Christian” organizations and less than savory characters.

  4. Travis Hutchinson

    Kyle Rittenhouse didn’t shoot people during a racial justice protest. He shot three people who attacked him in the riots following a racial justice protest.

    1. Don’t forget to add – Kyle Rittenhouse traveled across state lines with a gun, and lied about being an EMT to insert himself into an escalating situation, which led to the loss of multiple lives.
      This was an avoidable tragedy that should not be celebrated or defended by anyone.

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