Tony Gearing, 53, from Stradishall, almost fell foul of a con after his charity Young People of the Year was targeted by fradusters pretending to be Haverhill couple Adrian and Gillian Bayford, who won £148 million in August’s Euromillions.
Mr Gearing had written to the Bayfords asking for a donation towards his charity, which aims to improve the image of young people in the media.
Three months later he went into the now-closed Suffolk Music Centre in Queen Street to drop off his card, and days later had an e-mail saying his charity was among five chosen for a donation from the couple, and that it was due to be given £1.5 million.
He replied to the fraudsters but became suspicious when e-mails began to ask for the charity’s bank details to be given to a Ukrainian bank.
The e-mail he received (in full) read:
“Dear Beneficiary, Congratulations & Happy Celebration
My wife and I are very happy to hear from you because we believe this is a life time opportunity for you and your family, That was why we had to make sure our interview is put on the Internet for the world to see and we have also attached our real pictures to this mail to definitely prove to you that you are in the right hands.
We plan to take care of the needs of our immediate family members and make some of our friends millionaires because we believe in making others comfortable and happy like us.
My wife and I have assist the local fire department, the Red Cross, Haiti, some hospitals majorly involved in cancer treatment, and some other charity organizations in Africa, Asia and Europe that fight cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes.
However, since we won the Euro Millions Lottery, my wife and I have been investing ahead of the future, as we just bought some houses in London, Portugal and also in Ukraine. We are on vacation in India for a charity organization program and we are going to be here for three months.
One amazing incident happened this morning because I got an email from one of the beneficiaries who lives in Cyprus, Mr kostas, thanking my wife and I for the cash donation to him and his family.
This kind of emails we receive from our beneficiaries gives my wife and I much joy and we are really happy for you, being one of our beneficiaries.
Mr Kostas told us that he received his own funds, though he was a little scared and afraid as a result of different scams going on in the internet today, but he made up his mind, he trusted us and he followed the bank’s instructions, which facilitated to the safe transfer of the funds which we donated to him and his family.
I have submitted your Name, Email Address and your Mobile Number to our pay-out bank(JSCB Citibank Ukraine)and the bank’s funds transfer department await a confirmation email from you to facilitate the disbursement process of the funds £1,500,000.00 GBP which was donated to you.
My wife and I humbly urge you to cooperate with our payout bank, JSCB Citibank Ukraine in other to enhance a smooth and successful transfer of the funds which we donated to you because you are our only beneficiary who has not yet received his donation money.
We are very happy and proud to help you and your family and we also suggest that you contact the bank immediately on( email@example.com ) as the bank await a confirmation email from you, for the disbursement of your funds. So contact the bank immediately.
CONTACT DETAILS FOR THE BANK BELOW;
Bank Name: JSCB Citibank Ukraine
Chief Accounting Officer: Mr. Jonathan Steinberg
We just sent you some of our recent photos ... feel free to look at them.
We love you and your family.
Adrian Bayford and Gillian.
For all the latest news see today’s (Thursday, January 10) Echo.