Hyderabad police caution against ‘crowdfunding’ frauds

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Hyderabad: With several individuals and groups taking up ‘crowdfunding’ campaigns in the city to help the needy, the city police have asked the public to be cautious while dealing with them.

The social media platforms are flooded with appeals from unregistered NGOs and individuals seeking donations for those suffering from health issues, problems in education and for religious activities.

K V M Prasad, ACP, Cybercrime Hyderabad Police, said the crowdfunding mode of collecting money is practised worldwide by several groups who are engaged in such philanthropic works. Appeals to help out a distressed family or person are posted on the websites or social media platforms to bail out affected families from the financial crisis by providing timely help.

“There is nothing wrong in helping a needy person or a family. Nevertheless, one has to be careful and do background checks of the individuals or groups before donating money directly or into the bank accounts provided by them, lest one falls prey to online crowdfunding frauds,” he said.

Recently the Hyderabad Police arrested members of an NGO Hyderabad Youth Courage (HYC) for collecting donations running into crores of rupees and allegedly swindling the funds. Four cases were registered against the HYC in different police stations and the police were now trying to figure out how many bank accounts the money collected on patients/needy were diverted to.

“A few accounts were frozen as part of the investigation. The money was transferred to multiple accounts,” said an official associated with the investigation of the case.

A couple of years ago, the Banjara Hills police had arrested a woman who had collected huge money from people on the pretext of cancer treatment. After a donor lodged a complaint, the police arrested the girl and froze her bank account.

Social activist Shahbaz Ahmed Khan pointed out that several individuals and organisations were collecting donations from the public by sharing emotional videos on social networking platforms. “People are highlighting medical emergencies and religious issues to collect donations from public. The trend is on the rise in the city and the NRIs staying in Middle East and European countries are targeted,” he said.


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