Caution Must be excised as fraudsters take advantage of cyclone Idai

March 20, 2019
| Report Focus News

In the wake of tropical cyclone Idai many Zimbabweans have taken to social media to solicit for donations to help the victims of the devastation caused by the cyclone.
However, caution must be excised as some of those raising money may have fraudulent motives.

With the1 inspiring motives of GoFundMe pages being sledged by wicked and immoral desires for those of only the nefarious, the desire to help those in need slim as the thirst for greed rises.
If you didn’t know GoFundMe is a website that gives anyone the opportunity to make their own fundraiser, allowing for people to donate to what the fundraisers are trying to raise money for. With the original purpose being used to help those in need, its heartfelt motivation has been turned as a breeding ground for the greedy and menacing.

 Families and communities who go through natural disasters such as tropical cyclone Idai could use it to rebuild their homes, the devastated communities can also use the money to reconstruct homes and rebuild their facilities to better themselves and strive for a brighter tomorrow for the world; but all these aspirations go down to the dumps of dreams that could have been, as they are spoiled by people saying they’re going to raise money for their local homeless shelter, when they really want to use it to line their own pockets.

GoFundMe pages used to have good intent behind them. But not anymore. Now, go fund me pages are used for people to steal money from others who actually want to donate their cash for those in dire need of it. Stealing through go fund me accounts have been trending all around the world , and it seems like they’re not going to stop. Individuals can easily make up charity case stories to get money from the kind of heart, when someone who needs money needs the support. Cyclone Idai victims in the most affected countries such as Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe seriously need help but fraudsters are actively busy. One should check how this money will be remitted to the said beneficiaries.

There are some reputable people who are doing good and directing resources raised through GoFundMe to help those in distress. Freeman Chari is one such.

Others who are also honourable citizens have taken other channels that are not the GoFundMe route.

Writing on his microblog Twitter account David Coltart said;
My law firm has set up a “Cyclone Idai Trust Fund” which will be audited by @Deloitte . Donations can be paid to Cyclone Idai Relief Fund Ref 05/C115/001; Account name: Webb, Low and Barry, Nedbank Account No. 11990129233 – Swift Code MBCAZWHX – Sort Code 18302 (NOSTRO FCA) It instills confidence to see that he states that the funds will be audited by Deloitte. We have also seen established companies such as ECONET calling on citizens to donate in kind I received a message via my phone soliciting donations for the cyclone victims.

‘Drop off Cyclone Idai donations like blankets, toiletries & dry foods at any Econet Shop. For a cash donation please dial 15121320041Amount1#’
These initiatives are encouraging and must be applauded as they demonstrate corporate responsibility and giving back to the community.
However, Churches must be encouraged to step up and be seen to do more for the affected communities not much has been seen or pledged particularly from the prophetic churches who in normal cases ask for members to contribute tithes and offerings. Most of these churches are known to raise millions in good times and it would be great to see them give back something to the community.

Indeed, social media has been awash with numerous fundraisers who have opened GoFundMe accounts to help cyclone Idai victims and caution must be excised to weed out potential fraudsters who seek to benefit from this tragedy in the wake of cyclone Idai.

If you believe you have been a victim of fraud from a person or an organization soliciting relief funds on behalf of cyclone Idai or have knowledge of waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud toll free at: (866) 720-5721 You can also fax information to: (225) 334-4707 or e-mail it to: