MacKenzie Scott. (Elena Seibert photo)
MacKenzie Scott caused a stir in 2020 by donating more than $ 5 billion of her massive fortune to a variety of organizations. In a new report this weekend, the New York Times describes how scammers have followed in Scott’s footsteps and approached the vulnerable with promises of more financial aid.
Scott, the author and ex-wife of Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, donated $ 1.67 billion in July and more than $ 4 billion in December to hundreds of nonprofits, universities, food banks, and more last year other. As one of the richest people on the planet, her move is part of the “giving pledge” to give away most of her wealth to charity.
The Times reported that the lack of a foundation, public website, or way to reach them and their agents made Scott’s fraudulent efforts ripe. One expert gave organizations seemingly large sums of money out of the blue and described Scott’s method as a “gift” for the criminals involved.
The Times spoke to a woman in Australia who was mistaken into believing Scott was making an effort to help her deal with her family’s financial troubles. Fake emails, membership forms, and banking websites convinced the woman to spend money on related fees that would unlock $ 250,000 from Scott, which had allegedly already been deposited into a bank account for the woman.
It was all a scam and the use of cryptocurrency made it impossible for the woman to recover the money she had spent. The story describes fake Facebook and Instagram pages set up in Scott’s name and other attempts to target people via email.
One person with knowledge of Scott’s donations told the Times that Scott’s organization would never charge upfront fees from grant recipients. The Times said the person refused to comment directly on online scams on Scott’s behalf or any action they could take to prevent it.
“I understand she probably wants to be left alone, and I can imagine why she doesn’t have a website or something. I could imagine all the news she would get, ”Danielle Churchill, the victim in Australia, told the Times. “While what she does is great, if she doesn’t have a foundation or website she destroys people’s lives. We are important too. “