Scammers are using fake fundraising pages in a bid to profit from the deaths of four children who were struck by a ute in Sydney’s west as they walked to buy ice cream.
As the Abdallah family and the community of Oatlands struggle to come to terms with the tragic events on Saturday evening that killed three siblings Antony, 13, Angelina, 12, and Sienna, 8, alongside their 11-year-old cousin Veronique, their unimaginable grief hasn’t been enough to deter online fraudsters.
Thousands of dollars have been wrongly raised across several pages posing as official fundraisers for the family after the four children died when a ute allegedly driven by Samuel William Davidson mounted the footpath along Bettington Road and struck them.
Davidson allegedly returned a 0.15 blood-alcohol content reading – three times the legal limit.
As the wider community rallies around Danny and Leila Abdallah, who revealed her forgiveness for Davidson, tributes and flowers continue to be left at a makeshift memorial for the children.
However, some people who have tried to make a financial contribution to the family have been duped by a series of fake fundraisers online, NSW Police said.
“Police have received a number of reports regarding allegedly fraudulent crowd-funding pages relating to the victims of the Oatlands crash,” a spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia.
Family friends took to social media on Monday to warn of multiple pages circulating online.
“A fake Facebook account was set up yesterday using Leila’s name regarding a fundraiser for the children,” Rosie Lancaster said.
“Please, please make others aware that this is fake. DO NOT DONATE.”
Dozens responded to her post in disbelief.
“That's just disgusting, so sad thinking there's lowlife scum out there using such a tragedy to try benefit themselves,” one person said.
Police urged the public to remain vigilant online.
“Always check the legitimacy of people asking for donations,” a spokesperson said.
“Do not donate via fundraising pages on platforms that do not verify the legitimacy of the fundraiser or that do not guarantee your money will be returned if the page is determined to be fraudulent.”
A friend of the Abdallahs, Stuart Bonds, has since set up a legitimate fundraiser for the family on Facebook.
“Money cannot solve this. But it can allow their father, Danny to stay at home with his wife and children where he’s needed,” he explained.
Pages believed to be fake should be reported to Scamwatch, police said.
Anyone who has paid money to a scammer should contact their bank and Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.
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