Heart breaking Uganda scam you must not fall for

Kampala

Kampala in Uganda, where the letters originate

​Letters written in a child's hand ask for cash for students at St Agnes Nurse Training School in Kampala

Graham Martin's photo

9th May 2017 by Graham Martin 1 Comment

A charity is warning people not to be fooled by heart-rending begging scam asking for cash to help poor families in Uganda.

World Vision urged people not to fall for authentic-looking letters asking for cash for students and orphans in the African country.

TFN knows of two healthcare professionals and one charity worker who have received the notes.

The letters are a more sophisticated version of the well-known ‘Nigerian Prince’ email fraud, which asks for people to provide bank account details or even to provide advance cash payments.

However, while that scam relied on people believing they would be given untold riches for parting with their details or money, this version directly taps into people’s good will.

Clearly handwritten in what appears to be a child’s hand, they purport to be from students at St Agnes Nursing Training School in Kampala.

The details vary by letter but they always ask for fees so the student can pass exams.

One version reads: “Our dear father was bitten by a poisonous snake while digging on a fateful day... and he died a few minutes later. Our mother is sick suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure, she has no proper medical care due to lack of money.

“We live in poor and miserable conditions. Sometimes we sleep without food.”

The letter asks for cash to be sent so a nursing course can be completed.

The covering letter which comes as part of the scam

The covering letter which comes as part of the scam

Letters are sent with an official-looking covering letter from a Dr Sarah Najjuko at the school, which, as far as TFN has been able to ascertain, does not exist.

Other versions doing the rounds say that the student’s parents have died of Aids or been killed in civil war.

One recipient, who asked not to be named, said: “You might think I’me being daft, but I was tempted to send money. It looked plausible even on second reading.

“We all know the email scams, but this did seem to be written by a young person. It was sent straight to me at my work as well. I think the scammers are more likely to target healthcare professionals and people in the charity sector as we’re more receptive to this sort of thing.”

World Vision, a Christian charity which operates a well-known "sponsor a child" scheme, says it is aware of and deeply concerned about the bogus letters.

A spokesperson said: "It’s worrying that schemes like ours could become confused with this. It's horrifying that this kind of scam is going on in the name of charity." 

He said that donating through World Vision and other charities is the best way for people to go if they want to help.

Through its sponsor a child scheme, there is never direct contact between the donor and the child. The donor never knows the child's address, and the child is never given the donor's address. 

He said: "Everything takes place with us as the conduit.”

Have you fallen victim to the scam or received one of these letters? Email Graham Martin and let us know.

Comments

Please enter the word you see in the image below:


11th July 2017 by RPIN

Hello, I have received a letter from Sarah Najjuko in Kampala Uganda, asking for money to cover the costs of surgery for her and her sister, Stecia Nalwoga, who were burnt during a fire. I have even received shocking pictures of two burnt individuals. The letter starts the same as the one you give example in the website. They tell me to send 1860 pounds and contact her by email. They have even attached a medical file to the letter. Thank you very much for the information in your website. These letters are very sophisticated and I almost believe it. RPIN