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Mar
04

Beware Rare Disease Foundations – Funding Scam

One of my rare disease foundation friends was sent an email today purporting to offer the opportunity to apply for funding from “The Robertson Foundation”. It appears to be a sophisticated scam so BEWARE!!

This is what they sent in the email:

Attention:  X,

Thank you for your reply to our notification email. You have been selected for The Robertson Foundation grant which aspires to utilize a proactive, disciplined grant-making approach to measurably affect significant social change in the principal areas of education, the environment, medical research and religion & spirituality.

Please note that the amount that you will be entitled to has not been decided as at the time of sending you this email as we need to complete our evaluation and screening process. On completion, you will be entitled to a minimum of $350,000 USD (Three Hundred And Fifty Thousand United States Dollars) which you will have to use to develop any one of the aforementioned areas of interest in your region.

The Robertson Foundation was established by Julian and Josie Robertson and their family in 1996. The Foundation’s program staff has grown over time and it continues to grow as the foundation’s grant-making capacity expands.

We have provided support for an array of charitable entities through individual giving, as well as through other affiliated foundations – the Tiger Foundation and the Blanche and Julian Robertson Family Foundation.

We are selecting trust worthy and goal oriented individuals to help us in our course. Our screening method is thorough and selected individuals who do not meet these standards will not benefit from the grant as we do not want a situation where beneficiaries will not use their grants for developmental purposes.

Please note that this is not some lottery or randomly selected offer as grants will be given out based on merit and the level of impact the project embarked upon will have on the host region.

We have received your personal information and you are advised to write us a proposal and outline the project you intend to embark upon if you are selected as one of our beneficiaries. Also state the benefits of your project to the region in which you intend to embark it upon  Reference from public office holders and photos of a project at hand or an uncompleted project will also be an added advantage as our panel of judges will use that when evaluating selected individuals for the Robertson Foundation grant. Your project outline should be sent in a pdf or ms word format

For more information, you can read up on our aims and objectives at: http://www.robertsonfoundation.org/index.html

We await your proposal. 

Regards,

Joanne Dabney,

Project Co-ordinator, 

Robertson Foundation.

United Kingdom Office

Tel / Fax (+44)2036740958

©Robertson Foundation 2013.

http://www.robertsonfoundation.org/index.html

 

A quick search of the web finds the following very useful blog from Lin Edwards. I would suggest anyone (rare disease groups and others) that get an email from this group to delete it, as it is fake.

I am also concerned that researchers in academia may also be open to such scams as funding becomes increasingly short, will they too in desperation be open to such increasingly sophisticated scams. For me the lack of depth on “the Robertson Foundation” website was a bit of a give away, but admittedly if you look quickly it may pass your ususal “filters for an internet scam”. For example the contact address is in the UK, but they are funding research etc in the USA..very fishy.

So the old addage, “If it looks to good to be true, it likely is too good to be true” definitely holds in this case.

 

 

16 comments

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  1. sean says:

    The person contacted in this case added the following:
    There were so many red flags. The way they introduced themselves in the first place. Asking for my home address and age….. ugh

    When I googled them I couldn’t find any info. So I asked for more. They gave me the website address, which looks good.

    The letter itself, just enough to get you excited, but still trying to be legit.

    The website was focused on NY, but the contact email person was in the UK.

    They offer medical research grants and religious grants…. That’s unusual.

    The weirdest thing was the format of the emails with the letterhead at top, once you opened the email the footer would turn into a bunch of code. I had never seen this before. Now I’m freaked out that the code is used to hack into my computer…. Ask X if I’m safe. I deleted all the emails and deleted them from trash.

    They also had my personal email account, which is weird.

    …………………………
    So could it be a scam and a virus?

  2. sean says:

    I also recently had this email from a group using the samename – could it be copycat spamming?

    You have been elected for the Robertson Foundation developmental grant. Please send the following information to the email address provided below for more information.1.First name:2.Last Name:3.Telephone:4.Nationality:5.Age:6.Occupation:7.Address:EMAIL: rbffoundation@appraiser.netYour replies must be sent to this address (rbffoundation@appraiser.net)Regard,Desmond Edwards,©Robertson Foundation 2013.

  3. Khargoe, R. says:

    I received an e-mail from Robertson Foundation. The mail is like this:

    We are pleased to inform you that you have been selected for the Robertson Foundation development grant. Please send the following information to the email address provided below for more information.
    1. First name:
    2. Last name:
    3. Telephone:
    4. Nationality:
    5. Age:
    6. Occupation:
    7. Address:

    EMAIL: robertsonappraiser@appraiser.net

    Your replies must be sent to this address
    (robertsonappraiser@appraiser.net)

    Regards,
    Desmond Logan,
    Robertson Foundation 2013.

    I don’t know whether this is a false e-mail or what, therefore I’d like to aware you about this e-mail.

    Kind regards,
    R. Khargoe

    1. sean says:

      Dear R. Khargoe,

      yes this most definitely is also SPAM.

  4. sharon schleigh says:

    I received a similar email and have been seeking funding in academia. The dificulty in determing the validity of the email is that the Robertson Foundation has no contact information to cross refernece on their website. The scam requested my personnal information be sent to robertsonappraiser@appraiser.net and since they contacted me I figure they would have the information they were asking for. It is a shame that there are people that “take” by using the name of those that “give”!

  5. Lin Edwards says:

    I’ve been following this scam for a while, and it’s interesting to see that Joanne has changed her name. Here’s the end of the first email my friend got on this:

    For more information, you can read up on our aims and objectives at: http://www.robertsonfoundation.org/index.html

    We await your proposal.

    Regards,

    Joanne Kendrick,
    Project Co-ordinator,
    Robertson Foundation.
    United Kingdom Office
    Tel / Fax (+44)2036740958
    ©Robertson Foundation 2012.
    http://www.robertsonfoundation.org/index.html

    It’s the same phone number, but still doesn’t answer, and just goes to voice mail.

    The other names have changed too. Desmond Edwards/Logan are new. They used to be names like Harrison Orifice.

    You can read more at my website. Please don’t get sucked into this scam!

  6. sean says:

    Based on the amount of traffic coming to my website – these SCAM emails have probably gone viral. Researchers and foundations should be specifically aware of them. I would highly recommend people to be super cautious in responding to anything that looks like the examples above. Note how the person/s responsible are changing the names. Mark the emails as SPAM so your filters can catch this in future.

  7. Lin Edwards says:

    I would also add to take a good look at the email addresses in anything you think might be a scam. For example, for a real foundation you would expect something like: robertsonappraiser@robertsonfoundation.com, but instead you get this: robertsonappraiser@appraiser.net

    What is appraiser.net?

    The domain name should be the foundation name. Just type in appraiser.net and see what comes up. That should be a big red flag.

    Please be careful and don’t fall for this. Once you have paid them money the psychological pressure they can bring to bear is just amazing, so please don’t be fooled.

  8. Griselda Ramirez says:

    Robertson Foundation
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    Robertson Foundation‏

    Robertson Foundation (robertsonpost@dlgpost.dk)Add to contacts 2:53 PM
    Picture of Robertson Foundation
    You have been selected for the Robertson Foundation development grant. Please send the following information to the email address provided below for more information.

    1.First name:
    2.Last Name:
    3.Telephone:
    4.Nationality:
    5.Age:
    6.Occupation:
    7.Address:

    EMAIL: rbtf@ca.rr.com

    Your replies must be sent to this address
    (rbtf@ca.rr.com)

    Regards,
    J.Jeffries,
    ©Robertson Foundation 2013

  9. Diana says:

    Hello,

    I just got this email:

    “You have been short-listed for the Robertson Foundation development grant. Please contact EMAIL: rbtf@ca.rr.com for more information.
    Under Florida law, e-mail addresses are public records. If you do not want your e-mail address released in response to a public-records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact this office by phone or in writing. The information contained in this email and/or attachment(s) may be confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed. This email and/or attachment(s) may contain material that is privileged or protected from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not the intended recipient or the individual responsible for delivering to the intended recipient, please notify sender immediately by telephone to obtain instructions as to whether information in this email and/or attachment(s) is confidential and privileged or protected from disclosure under applicable law.”

    I have not changed anything, it was sent to me just like I copy-pasted above. It was sent from somebody named Tina Bullock, email address stbullock@OneClay.net

    This all seemed like a scam to me and I’m not sure why instead of deleting it, as I have not applied to said grant, I decided to google it and I came across this discussion and other posts about it.

    Just thought posting this might be useful to warn others.

    Regards.

  10. sean says:

    Many Thanks Diana,
    amazing these are still doing the rounds.

  11. Matt says:

    I received the email a couple weeks ago and have enjoyed stringing them along. I really liked how my proposal was approved for $206k without actually sending in a proposal.
    I am now seeing if they can help with some payments to me in order for me to get a couple “legal documents” released in order to get them the initial payment they will be needing from me.
    The game continues.

  12. Kay says:

    From Danny Wilwant
    To Danny Wilwant

    You have been short-listed for the Robertson Foundation development grant. Please contact EMAIL: rbtf@ca.rr.com for more information.

    I just received this one and thought I would check them out

  13. sean says:

    I even got emailed today with the above

    You have been short-listed for the Robertson Foundation development grant. Please contact EMAIL: rbtf@ca.rr.com for more information.

  14. Leo Gabriel says:

    I also got a “grant” from

    Joanne Kendrick,
    Project Co-ordinator,
    Robertson Foundation.
    United Kingdom Office
    Tel / Fax (+44)2036740958
    ©Robertson Foundation 2012.
    http://www.robertsonfoundation.org/index.html

    but when I called the real Robertson Foundation in NY they said it was a fake. Fortunalty I got your alert in time so I did not give to them my bank details.
    thanks a lot for this chat.

  15. sean says:

    another email today
    from someone called Fontana

    You have been short-listed for the Robertson Foundation development grant. Contact this email: rbfsummit@ca.rr.com for more information.

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