Criminal gangs have defrauded people out of funds intended for Haiti earthquake victims by setting up bogus charities and seeking contributions online, according to a British Broadcasting Corporation investigation published on Tuesday.
Scam emails began appearing online within days of the January 12 earthquake, including some with logos for genuine charities. One for the British Red Cross was traced to a computer in Nigeria, the BBC reported.
Another group, calling itself the M E Foundation, emailed the BBC photos of Haiti projects it said it was involved with, but which turned out to be those of disaster relief activities from the 2005 Pakistan earthquake.
British charity, SOS Children, said the photos were cut and pasted from their website.
“The problem is it’s not just about exploiting a donor or a charity, really they’re exploiting the victims.
“They’re taking money people want to give to the victims of these natural disasters and they’re stealing it. So, I don’t feel that they’re robbing me; I feel that they’re taking from the mouths of children we’re trying to help and that is something which is very difficult not to get angry about,” the charity’s boss, Andrew Cates, said.
Another scam email was sent by a charity calling itself Help the World. When the BBC called the mobile number it gave, its reporter was told it focused on repairing schools.