Scammers preying on Notre-Dame donors, France warns

Scammers preying on Notre-Dame donors, France warns

Notre Dame Cathedral police
Members of The Police Identite Judiciaire walk inside the Notre-Dame-de Paris Cathedral in Paris on April 16, 2019, a day after a fire that devastated the building in the centre of the French capital. (Photo: AFP/Pool/Christophe Petit Tesson)

PARIS: 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 euros (US$14.5 million) from individual donors to help restore the gothic landmark, said any phone or email appeals were fake.

READ: Can Notre-Dame be restored in just five years? 

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

The foundation is accepting donations through its website, 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.

Source: AFP/hs