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SOS Africa Charity Targeted by Cruel Fraudster

02 Oct 2011

Please help us warn other charities about this scam by forwarding them a link to this page. Thank You.

It is a sad reality of our world that among the many kind and generous people there exist a few selfish individuals with no moral standards that devise cruel schemes in an attempt to steal invaluable funds from charitable organisations.  Unfortunately, this week SOS Africa was targeted by such an individual.

A short while ago we received an email from an Italian businessman stating that he intended to make a £30,000 donation to the SOS Africa charity, as he regularly contributed to worthy causes.  The money would be delivered in the form of a cheque. We were delighted as the money was to be used to answer our school bus appeal, so that we can transport our children to and from school safely every day.  Various emails were then exchanged between us and the potential sponsor; at no point did he ask for our bank details.  In one email he stated that his personal assistant had sent us £60,000 in error and instructed us that when we received the money we were to put it into our account and forward £30,000 to a charity in the United Arab Emirates which specialised in helping children with heart complaints. He stressed that this was of vital importance as these children desperately needed heart replacement operations. There was still no request for our bank details.

Much to our excitement, on Tuesday 27th September a cheque for £60,000 arrived and we immediately took it to the bank. We asked if they could trace it but they said they were not able to do this and that the money could be in our account by Friday.  The cheque was supposedly from an HSBC account in London.  Shortly after banking the cheque, we received a phone call from the bank to say that it was fraudulent and that they would not be processing it. It became clear that the architect of this scam was hoping that we would send on the additional £30,000 to the other 'charitable organisation' before we were notified that the £60,000 cheque was fraudulent.

Although, thankfully the charity has not lost any money, we are hugely disappointed as we are now without the funding required to purchase our first school bus. We are also doing all we can to make sure that other charities are aware of this scam. If you are a charity facing similar circumstances, please feel free to get in touch with SOS Africa and we will provide you with further information. The HSBC fraud department and the police are also currently investigating this incident.

      School Bus Appeal

Furthermore, if you are an individual or business in a position to be able to support our school bus appeal, now that this funding is no longer secure, we would greatly appreciate your help.

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