Westpac warns of scam plotting to steal Christchurch terror donations

Westpac New Zealand is warning people to check their inboxes. Source: Getty

A worrying new email scam fooling people wanting to make donations to victims of the Christchurch terror attack is currently doing the rounds, with Westpac New Zealand warning people to check their inboxes.

The terror attack on two mosques last Friday which resulted in the deaths of 50 worshippers has prompted a flood of donations to those affected by the terrible ordeal. However, the bank said emails with fake links purporting to link to the Westpac donation fund were being sent to people’s inboxes. The fake email link goes to a scam site called mothersawakening.

“The account they supply is NOT the correct account for donations,” Westpac said in a statement issued on the company’s Twitter page on Monday.

“We’ve had several reports of people receiving emails with Westpac branding requesting donations for the victims of the Christchurch terror attacks. These emails are NOT from Westpac.”

The bank said anyone who received the email scam should report it immediately to [email protected].

“If in doubt, please check with us or come into a branch and we can assist,” Westpac said.

Meanwhile, Westpac, and other banks, are still collecting donations for the Christchurch Foundation — Our City, Our People Fund. The correct account for donations is 15-3976-0091104-080.

“Christchurch, you are in our hearts and minds. Along with other NZ banks we’re coordinating donations to the Christchurch Foundation, Our City, Our People Fund through account : 15-3976-0091104-080. You can also donate at any Westpac branch anywhere in NZ,” the bank also said on Monday.

More than NZ$8 million had been raised at the time of publication across three fundraisers. A Givealittle page has already raised more than $6.4 million, with over 79,000 people donating. Another fundraiser on LaunchGood, managed by the NZ Islamic Information Centre, has raised more than $2 million. Elsewhere, more than $159,000 has also been donated to a fundraiser on Everyday Hero.

The funds were set up in response to Friday’s terror attack on two mosques in Christchurch. At about 1.40pm (local time) the gunman entered the Al Noor Mosque in central Christchurch and opened fire, before driving about 5 kilometres across town and attacking the Linwood mosque. A bomb was also found in a car on Strickland Street about 4 kilometres from the Al Noor Mosque. Four people were arrested, but only a 28-year-old Australian man has been charged with murder.

The gunman appeared in court on Friday and was remanded in custody without a plea. He is due to appear in court again on April 5, and is expected to face further charges in the coming weeks.

Have you received one of these emails? Have you ever fallen victim to a scam?

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