An urgent warning has been issued after scammers allegedly attempted to raise donations while pretending to be from the SES in the wake of the NSW floods.
The Taree branch, 330 km north of Sydney, took to Facebook to warn the community about scammers operating in their area.
“If anyone asking for donations on behalf of the NSW SES contacts you, this is a SCAM,” wrote an enraged branch member.
Taree volunteer SES members are filling sandbags on March 19 to help their community weather the floods. Furious members who had been warned about scammers pretended to be raising money
The Taree volunteer branch of SES (pictured) warned the community not to give money to anyone who said they were from the NSW SES. They urged the public to call the police instead
“If someone comes to you and asks for donations on behalf of the NSW SES, this is also a SCAM and you must immediately report it to the police.”
The NSW SES is not asking for donations or knocking at the door to raise money.
“It is unbelievable that people are so heartless as to take advantage of the goodwill of the local communities in such difficult times,” the post continued.
“They should be ashamed.”
There may be multiple scammers at work with residents reporting phone calls
A woman (pictured) reportedly tried to swindle money while wearing a volunteer uniform. She was not a member of any SES unit – nor is the SES asking for donations
More than 1,000 flood rescues were required during NSW floods in the past two weeks. Pictured: NSW SES volunteers take locals down a flooded road near Rosebrook on Thursday
The NSW SES and NSW Police instead sent people to Givit.org.au, the NSW government’s donation channel that focuses on gifts so that people get what they need and unwanted donated goods don’t hinder recovery.
NSW police urged the community to be on the lookout for fraudsters.
“NSW police are urging the community to be aware and report any fraudulent activity collecting donations in connection with the NSW floods,” a spokesman told Daily Mail Australia on Friday.
Scammers have sometimes been able to get their hands on SES uniforms as members come and go of the volunteer organization, so the public has been warned to be on the lookout.
Angry Taree residents who spoke to him 7 News said one woman, a serial scammer, had tried to take advantage of their goodwill in every natural disaster, and they had formed a Facebook group dedicated to tracking her movements.
During Cyclone Debbie’s 2017 cleanup, the woman reportedly posted photos of herself in the striking orange volunteer uniform, even though she was not a member.
They also said she tried to steal a horse during the Black Summer bushfires by telling a man it was her horse that escaped and trying to get his help to ‘get it back’.
Taree SES unit members are organizing on March 21 to help the community
Pictured: SES volunteers load food and supplies into a rescue helicopter for residents in areas cut off by floods northwest of Sydney on Wednesday
She also reportedly created fake fundraising pages for forest fire victims, without handing over the money.
NSW police said they were unaware that anyone was posing as aid workers seeking donations in the Manning / Great Lakes precinct.
WHEN SOMEONE REQUESTS DONATIONS:
If you are ever approached for help with flood recovery:
– Ask for identification and license numbers
– Ask for the department contact number to call to verify the work
– If the person is not from a government organization, we recommend that you do not let him or her in your home
– Do not disclose your personal information or disclose bank account information to anyone, in person or on the phone
Source: NSW police
This time, there may be more than one scammer at work, with locals taking to social media to report phone calls falsely asking for money for the NSW SES.
A woman described the calls, saying that a few people had been called during the NSW elevation changes last Saturday.
“ It starts as if they are you (SES) and update us on the situation, then they ask for a donation, ” she wrote on Facebook.
On Friday, the SES hoped to revoke the last of the 23 evacuation orders when floodwaters across NSW began to recede and the organization began assessing the flood damage.
Friday night, however, there were still just under 9,000 people under evacuation orders, the Guardian reported.
Another 76,000 people were able to return to their homes after evacuation warnings were lifted.
There were 12,500 requests for aid in the state and 1,000 flood rescues during the wild week of torrential rains, with the SES conducting an additional 35 flood rescues Thursday night.
More than 1,300 homes have been assessed so far, with water rising over the floor sections in more than 250 homes.
At least 75 houses are now uninhabitable according to SES standards.
The NSW SES began assessing the flood damage on Friday as the flood waters receded. Pictured: Volunteers in Windsor, west of Sydney, on March 21
SES volunteers in Port Macquarie will prepare food packages for flood-hit areas on Friday