Warning over Haiti email scams

UK fraud prevention service Cifas is warning people to beware of bogus online charity appeals relating to the Haiti earthquake disaster...


Consumers giving money to those hit by the Haiti earthquake have been urged to be vigilant, after it emerged criminals were attempting to take advantage of the public’s generosity by setting up fraudulent appeals.

UK fraud prevention service Cifas  has revealed that a spate of spam emails have been distributed by fraudsters looking to steal personal information and bank details from donors. Cifas Communications Manager Richard Hurley said the criminals use emotional blackmail in order to con people and noted that the correspondence often appears very plausible.

One said it was from the British Red Cross, but was traced to a computer in Nigeria; another used the Unicef logo, but was nothing to do with them.


‘By combining hard-hitting language – often completely fictional or copied from a reputable source – with the apparent ease of making a donation, it is not difficult to see how these scams dupe people so convincingly,’ he added.



Anyone wanting to make a donation should visit charitycommission.gov.uk to check if a charity is registered in the UK.

A spokeswoman for the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) said the best way to ensure donations reach the main charities involved with the aid effort is to give to its appeal. The DEC is an umbrella organisation for 13 agencies including Oxfam, Save the Children and Christian Aid. Donations can be made via dec.org.uk or on 0370 60 60 900.

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