Caution scammers

Any trouble attracts people who want to help but also crooks and thieves who want to profit from someone else's grief.

On the Internet, fraudsters have become more active who pretend to be relatives of political prisoners or persons persecuted by lukashenka's security officials. We ask for help both to our Foundation and simply to groups of caring Belarusians on Telegram. These crooks provide data on people who never existed, allegedly needing support, place their bank card details and ask to donate money for it.

Olga Zazulinskaya, an employee of "A Country to Live in" foundation and head of the project of helping political prisoners, spoke about one of these cases.

"Recently, we have faced three attempts at deception at once. First, on November 16, information appeared about Olga Melnikova, who is in the pre-trial detention center on Volodarsky Street. Then, on December 6, a second request for help was addressed to Alexander Martynchik. Then we were informed about Artyom Dmitrievich Abramov, who was detained in the IVS and allegedly committed suicide there.

The information was disseminated through Telegram channels and chats. We began to check, and it turned out that they were swindlers. We checked by ourselves and with the help of Cyber-Partisans. It turned out that there are no people with such data in Belarus at all. Moreover, information about helping these people were sent from one account.

This is how they work: they send information to the Akrestsin's Lists that a person is allegedly being detained. They give a surname, name, patronymic, year of birth. Of all this, only the surname is actual. Having submitted a person to the list, they then operate with screenshots of this message and write to Vesna, in various chats, that they need help from a lawyer, money to transfer. So we check, and it turns out that there is no such person on Volodarka.

About Artyom Abramov, who allegedly died in a pre-trial detention center, I demanded his mother's contacts - her phone number and address of residence. The one who filed for help immediately stopped communicating.

This is a fraud. Let's call things by their proper names. Who is behind this? Unscrupulous people, and perhaps this is done deliberately, to discredit. Moreover, assistance was provided for Olga Melnikova. At that moment, they had not figured it out yet.

These swindlers could have received (help) a second time, but if this donor had not asked us why we prohibited money transfer. And at that moment, we already realized that this was a deception and explained it to him. I wrote about this to the fraudster herself (this is a girl).

You don't need to trust any information blindly. People need to seek confirmation from at least three sources. Today, all organizations that help political prisoners are in close cooperation. Therefore, it is not worth asking Cyber-Partisans, for example, to verify a person. However, this must be done in the case of requests for financial assistance.

Crooks work differently depending on the situation. They contact both foundations and simply people in chats. For example, in the case of the allegedly deceased guy, they said that mom was afraid of everything. Therefore, here is the card number, and let's help (transfer money). Thanks to the well-coordinated work of both our Foundation and other organizations: dissidentby, Cyber-Partisans, Akrestin's Lists, we managed to uncover this deception."

Friends, we urge you not to follow the calls of anonymous users on the Internet, but be sure to verify information about help to this or that person. Remember that criminals are constantly on the lookout for new victims. We also remind you that donating through our Foundation, for example, becoming Santa Claus for a child of a political prisoner, or a Friend of the family, is safe.

We verify those we are helping. And "A Country to Live in" foundation itself is accountable to the Board of Trustees and the tax authorities of Lithuania and Poland - the countries in which our organization is registered.
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