Madeleine Berrevoets

Madeleine Berrevoets, a single mother in Fredericton, says she is amazed how quickly she was able to raise money online to replace her car. (CBC)

As more people turn to the Internet with appeals for donations when they hit hard times, the experiences of two Fredericton single mothers show the profits, and pitfalls, of asking for money online.

In the case of Madeleine Berrevoets it worked out beyond what she imagined.

When she got into a car accident recently, she realized her Volkswagen Rabbit was a writeoff and would have to be replaced.

She had little money, so she decided to head online.

Berrevoets posted a notice seeking help on the crowdsourcing website GoFundMe.com, on Facebook and on the online classified advertising site Kijiji.

She hoped to raise $2,500, but within three days she’d exceeded that amount. She’s bought a 1999 Volkswagen Rabbit to replace the old one.

"I'm just absolutely amazed that it happened that fast, and that people were that giving and caring,” Berrevoets said. "This is something we’re never, never going to forget."

Lindsay Johnston hasn’t forgotten her own experience, but for a very different reason.

The single mother posted an online advertisement offering to do work for $300 to cover her phone bill.

Instead, the only messages she got back were from men trying to solicit her for sex.

"The first one that I received was 'I will help you, but you have to do something for me,'" Johnston said.