Scammers preying on Notre-Dame donors, France warns

The French Heritage Foundation, which has already collected more than 13 million euros (S$19.9 million) from individual donors, said any phone or email appeals were fake.
The French Heritage Foundation, which has already collected more than 13 million euros (S$19.9 million) from individual donors, said any phone or email appeals were fake.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

PARIS (AFP) - Fraudsters are taking advantage of the Notre-Dame fire to fool donors into handing over cash believing they are helping to rebuild the gutted Paris cathedral, officials have warned.

The French Heritage Foundation, which has so far collected more than €13 million (S$19.9 million) from individual donors to help restore the Gothic landmark, said any phone or e-mail appeals were fake.

"A number of scams have been flagged to us both in France and abroad," the foundation said on Wednesday (April 17), insisting it issues no appeals by phone, mail or e-mail for donations. "All of these initiatives are fraudulent."

The foundation is accepting donations through its website (don.fondation-patrimoine.org), its Facebook page, PayPal, a Paris metro station and by SMS for those in France.

Culture Minister Franck Riester on Tuesday warned people to be vigilant of websites claiming to support the reconstruction of Notre-Dame, which suffered heavy damage in Monday's blaze.

French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to rebuild the monument by 2024, when France hosts the summer Olympics.