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UK Internet Detective Shuts Fake Charity

Charles Conway, 36, an Internet detective in North-Wales (UK), has successfully managed to close down a bogus charity website that was swindling cash meant for the quake-affected children in Haiti (USA). It is learnt that a massive earthquake hit Haiti in January 2010.

Conway exposed an e-mail fraud that mimicked US-based Mercy & Sharing Foundation, a real charity. The scam, by copying the press releases of the charity, dodged generous donors as the money which they donated was diverted to an account in Eastern Europe.

Conway stated that the website, at the first sight, gave a completely legitimate look, according to a statement published by dailypost.co.uk on April 15, 2010.

The fake website listed the charity's London address. A quick test of the address revealed that it was actually a division of chain of pizza restaurants in the country, which had no connection with the charity.

The detective pointed out that no charity with this name exists in the UK at any address. The contact number displayed on the website is bogus. Moreover, the bank account referred therein was a personal savings account.

According to Conway, details of Halifax bank have been reported, and the bank is presently probing into the matter.

He also noted that the person whose account was abused in the scam might be completely innocent and has fallen prey to this money mule scam.

If one has donated funds, better approach the local police to report the fraud. One can also contact Halifax Bank at their helpline numbers to report the case.

The Charity Commission has suggested the donors to verify the registration of the charity in the country by visiting charitycommisssion.gov.uk. Further, if users have apprehensions regarding e-mails, they must directly contact them if they have to donate rather following an e-mail link.

Worryingly, scammers are very quick to play with people's sentiments through phony websites and bogus e-mails specially crafted to rob charity donations, said security experts.

To conclude, people must note that the Disaster and Emergency Committee (DEC), an association of 13 major charities based in UK, is running the original charity appeal for Haiti earthquake victims.

Related article: US Passes Baton to Asia in Spam Relay

» SPAMfighter News - 4/28/2010

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