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Fundraising for Turkey and Syria - watch out for scams!

Fundraising for Turkey and Syria – watch out for scams!

Published on April 24, 2023 by Josephine Heesh and Shakvaan Wijetunga, Law Clerk

Scammers use clickbait to entice donors, using highly emotive images and language of urgency. But if you look closely, you will notice clues in the details. For example, a Twitter post including an AI-generated image of a firefighter carrying a child gave the man six fingers and Greek insignia on his uniform. Another example is a donation page with a suspiciously low amount, most likely whatever the scammer put in to create the image of a real fundraiser. A third example is a picture of a child running away from an explosion, which was clearly not taken in the earthquake, but during conflict in Syria in 2018.

There are a few signs you can look for to determine whether a fundraiser is a scam. Many of these scams will also contain references to Bitcoin. Images are also likely to be poor quality, with any text looking amateur. Captions, including some of the above, contain odd use of English expression and grammatical errors Sometimes it may only be a vague impression, that something is ‘off’ about what you see.

If in doubt, do not respond and find an established charity to send your donation.

As a general rule, be wary of unsolicited links you receive, even if they appear to be from someone you know or a legitimate fund or agency, do your due diligence and donate to a trusted organisation.

In the wake of the Turkey-Syria disaster, watch out for phrases such as “Let’s help Turkey”, “Pray for Turkey”, “Donate for earthquake victims” and “Let’s help Turkey. Donation”.

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