Nigerian Scam with a Charity Twist
Some of you know that I founded a 501c3, Binky Patrol, Inc. in 1996. We make blankets for children who are ill and abused and give them away. That's it. 100% volunteer, local chapters are self-supporting through their own fundraising and donations.
I'm quite familiar with the Nigerian Scam that has been around for several years but this was a new spin. I recognized what it was from the first letter, but kept the correspondence going until they began to ask for the money.
Charities, I know times are tough, but be very careful of free money, "partnerships" with unknown entities, people who start their letters, "beloved in Christ…" etc.
Here's how it went:
I was approached a couple of weeks ago by "African Child."
Hello, As part of our awareness campaign,we(Aid African Child
> Foundation Accra) have decided to make a little contribution by taking
> part in your projects.AAC foundation was formed in Accra Ghana in 2009
> having Mrs Nana -Esi Amponsah as our president. Our association will
> like to know how we may be able to help in our own little way because
> we believe that as we do this,more will come to us and, more so we
> will soon have international recognition.Your kind response will be
> appreciated. Michael Peterson, Public relations officer.
My immediate first reaction was to be wary because I was an early victim of the Nigerian Scam "we'll wire you money, you send us back our share…" for $250. I got of lightly and was able to stop it before the transaction completed.
I took this above letter further to play it out. My gut was correct.
I told them of our needs:
You can buy ad space on our site that will benefit all of our chapters.
$500 for the year would get you a home page ad and an article about your
organization. The ad would link back to your organization's website.
Susan Finch, Founder/President
Binky Patrol Comforting Covers For Kids
Thank you for your email.On the 12th day of October 2010, we commissioned a project in Togo and, a few delegates from America who visited our site promised to back us with more grants and donations and from such funds,we have decided to make out little donations also to a few organizations around the world to gain more recognition and to extend our love.
To proceed on this,we have decided to get more information such as,
Your organization website,
Donation modes available to you,
Country where your organization is registered,
List all current projects.
Public relations officer.
ANYTHING would help. $2 helps us buy enough batting to make a blanket. So, anything will help.
We accept credit cards through PayPal and checks made out to Binky Patrol, Inc.. Local chapters accept direct donations of gift cards, cotton fabrics and checks to be used to run their chapters.
We are a 501c3 Corporation in the US.
We are always making and giving blankets to children and teens in need of comfort throughout the U.S. Some chapters donate blankets to children in other countries, as they can. One of the goals of Binky Patrol is to raise awareness of the "invisible kids" at the local level. Those who are abused, in shelters, living on the streets; as well as those who are ill or experiencing other trauma.
And then the nail in the coffin:
Sorry for the little delay in responding to your last email. Our executive meeting was held to come up with ideas as regards the project we have at hand.
On the conclusion, we have decided that since some of our donors will be making funds available bigger than what we expect to give out, we will only authorize a certain amount to be taken away by your organization while the rest will be made available to us. Considering the fact that we cannot take online payments through our website, it’s easier to make the funds available through your organization and as part of our campaign; a certain percent of the total funds made available to you will be wired back to us while you take the rest.
I will give you information on the progress of the transaction as soon as any payment is received and will also let you know what amount you will take as part of our donation to your work.
All donations are tax deductible.
Thanks for your patience as I look forward to your swift response.
Public relations officer.
Same thing, same scam. BEWARE of easy money. These letters were written well and looked like a real deal. If you won't read between the lines you can get caught up in the excitement of funds and charity helping charity. I'm not a cynical person, but I'm not stupid to be bitten by the same scam twice.
To find out more about these scams, search for: 419 scams.
This charity is not happy that I have posted this, but I cannot find them on the US sit for legit 501c3 orgs in the US or in Ghana, which is where they are located.
They also go by the name ACC Foundation, but the only one I can find under that name is the Adopt a Class Foundation. For now I will leave this up and will be happy to retract any statements if my instinct is wrong.