VILE scammers are targeting homes in Scotland pretending to collect clothes and toys for sick and dying children.
The fraudsters have already managed to deceive dozens of families by claiming to be collecting for the Edinburgh-based Sick Kids Friends Foundation (SKFF).
Bearing the charity’s logo and fake email address, collection bags have been posted along with a specified collection date.
But it is believed the imposters have been selling the items to make profit for themselves.
Yesterday, SKFF officials sent out a public warning over social media revealing that the collection bags had nothing to do with them.
They said: “Over the last week or so we have received a number of phone calls from our supporters saying that they have received clothes collection bags in the post, requesting clothing donations to benefit The Sick Kids Friends Foundation.
“Unfortunately these collection bags are not sanctioned or endorsed by SKFF and have nothing to do with us as a charity.
“If you received one of these bags through the post, please call our office on 0131 668 4949 to report it. We are working with Trading Standards to get to the bottom of why this is happening and who is responsible for it.
“If you would like to donate or recycle your clothes, then we partner with Nathan’s Wastesavers. Over the years we have received over £250,000 through our partnership with them.
“We would like to apologise for any inconvenience this might have caused any of our supporters. Thank you for your ongoing support of SKFF, we’re so grateful for each one of you.”
Dozens of affected families in the wider Edinburgh area revealed they had already fallen victim to the scam.
Carly Stevenson said: “Ours were collected on Tuesday. I hope you get to the bottom of this and those responsible punished.”
Emily Taylor wrote: “I got one last week, collection was on Friday and bag was picked up mid morning. Hope you get to the bottom of it.”
And Hazel Lumsdain wrote: “The vast majority of these bag collections are fake. They are people looking for good quality cloths to sell on or sell to rag bag.companies. Best to go direct to the charity shops.”
A spokeswoman for Midlothian Council, one of the areas hit, said: “Masquerading as collecting on behalf of the Sick Kids Friends Foundation, the bogus collectors have been distributing unauthorised bags…in an attempt to obtain donated clothing, bedding and soft toys.
“Sick Kids Friends Foundation have not sanctioned any collections over the last 12 months, so have no knowledge or involvement in the process and therefore will not benefit.
“Midlothian Council’s Trading Standards department have been alerted to this illegal activity.”