Harlow student investigates ‘scammers’

Picture taken by Willow Jacobs-Harding

A HARLOW journalism student found herself in the centre of a possible scam, allegedly raising money for homeless veterans.

Natalia Dabrowska was approached by a man with a green and white bucket, who was selling booklets about homeless veterans for £3. However he gave her the booklet for only 65p, but didn’t go into any detail about the organisation he’s working for.

Street scammers operating throughout the country have begun to trick the British public into buying magazines about homeless veterans, with the money raised allegedly supporting those serving in the armed forces and combat veterans.

The group has been reported across various cities in the UK such as Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. Now the crooks, working under the alias The Veterans Journey, appear to be targeting residents of Harlow.

The man spotted by our student was wearing all-back and appears similar to the man in pictures posted by The Walter Mitty Hunters Club (a group of vigilantes who target fraudsters posing as charities) of the suspected members of the scamming group.

The Walter Mitty Hunters Club, a non-profit organisation which exists to expose people acting as soldiers and veterans, revealed that scammers were selling a magazine, the contents of which were stolen word for word from the information available on The Royal British Legion’s website.

The Walter Mitty Hunters Club commented “They are stealing the work of others and passing it off as theirs and charging £3 for it for their own personal gain.”

The student reported the incident to Essex Police who said they would carry out an investigation to see if the man could be traced.

A spokesman for Harlow Town Council said they would also look at the incident.

A spokesman for the Harlow branch of the Royal British Legion said he had not heard of the magazine.

According to the Office for National Statistics nearly 50% of the general public have been targeted by scammers at some point and one in five of these individuals has become a victim to their fraud. The government estimates that anywhere between £150 million and £2 billion is stolen from the nation per year in the form of charity fraud. This money is a huge loss for the genuine charities who raise money for good causes.

The Royal British Legion, Blesma and Help for Heroes are a few examples of legitimate charities that support those injured in combat and war veterans, working directly with The Ministry of Defence.

You can ask to see a charity representative’s ID or ask for the charity registration number to check on the charity commission website if you ever have any doubts about where your money is going when making a donation to a charity.

You can donate to charities mentioned above and know that your money will go to the ones who need it.

Donate to Royal British Legions by texting POPPY to 70020 or calling 0845 845 1945.

Donate online to Blesma on https://blesma.org/donate/ or call 0208 548 7088 to donate.

You can also make a donation to Help for Heroes on their website https://portal.helpforheroes.org.uk/donation or by calling them on 0300 303 9888.

 

 

 

 

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Natalia Dabrowska

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