Tag: Patrick Salway
The family of two men killed in the devastating NSW South Coast bushfires have been hurt again by fraudsters who appropriated their names and pictures to scam well-wishers.
- Robert and Patrick Salway were killed in the New Year’s Eve fires on the South Coast
- A fake fundraising page has been stopped after taking thousands of dollars
- The family says the scammers are “despicable”
Less than a day after father and son Robert and Patrick Salway died at Cobargo on the NSW South Coast, scammers set up an online fundraising campaign to solicit donations from members of the public.
Almost $4,000 was raised from nearly 60 people before the fundraiser was reported and shut down.
Robert and Patrick died when a fireball hit their family home in Cobargo, on the NSW South Coast.
Not long after their names were reported in the news, the scam campaign appeared on the website Go Get Funding, using the name of a relative.
Kellie-Anne Hancock is the daughter of Robert and the sister of Patrick.
The scam account was set up using the name of her niece.
Ms Hancock and her husband Dean first learned about the scam from their niece, who began receiving unexpected messages from well-wishers and people wanting to donate.
“She was absolutely bloody beside herself,” Mr Hancock said.
“You couldn’t even understand what she was saying, she was that upset.”
After the initial shock, Mr Hancock reported the scam to NSW Police, as well as the AFP.
He said authorities said they had encountered similar scams before, after victims’ names were reported in the news.
“I don’t know how people could do it. I really don’t,” Mr Hancock said.
“It’s absolutely f***ing despicable. It’s the absolutely lowest of bloody lows.
“I could not imagine the mindset of someone who’d do something like that.”
Go Get Funding contacted the family to confirm the campaign had been stopped, but it had already raised $3,750.
One victim of the scam said they tried to get their money back, but said Paypal was not able to refund donations.
In an email, Go Get Funding said funerals and memorial campaigns had been targeted in recent months by fraudsters.
Playing on people’s emotions
One of the donors to the online scam was Canberra woman Renee Payne, a friend of the Salway family.
Her husband, Australian National University criminologist Jason Payne, said he was suspicious that a fundraiser had been set up so quickly.
He said he was aware that scammers had recently started to target communities in crisis.
“My wife doesn’t just get online and throw money at anyone,” he said.
“In fact she’d gotten very careful and suspicious about doing anything online where people are requesting money.
“It was by virtue of her goodwill and compassion that she became vulnerable in ways that she might not otherwise be.”
Dr Payne said it was a perfect storm of motivated offenders and vulnerable victims.
“Whether you’re a family member or not you feel compelled to want to help,” he said.
“We end up connecting offenders and victims across the digital world in ways they’ve never been connected before.
“People can take advantage of people from anywhere in the world.”
He said people should report any such scam, even if only a small amount of money was lost.
In his experience, Mr Payne said he had never seen a scam appear so quickly after a crisis.
“I think it’s something that we’re likely to see more and more,” he said.
Family mourning loss of father and son
Dean Hancock said there was a silver lining in the scam happening on New Year’s Day.
While people who donated via Paypal said their donations could not be cancelled by the company, many were able to cancel the transactions when banks opened after the public holiday, before the money was withdrawn.
Despite everything, Mr Hancock said his wife Kellie-Anne and her family were holding up well with support from the community.
“They’ve had a bit of tragedy in the family,” he said.
“There hasn’t been much time to think with family checking in all the time.
“When the phone calls stop, then you have time to think about it.”
More bushfire coverage:
- Live blog: Fires in NSW and Victoria still burning as communities prepare to assess damage
- Ferocious blaze rips through properties in idyllic Southern Highlands west of Sydney
- Alpine towns evacuate as firefighters deal with ‘double-edge sword’ of rain
- Bright orange, then pitch black as Qantas flight hits turbulence in fire’s cloud
- ‘Just magnificent’: Farmer fights back tears as ‘army of angels’ convoy arrives
- Eden’s wharf offered a refuge from fire, then police warned it wasn’t safe
- Farmers grapple with how to dispose of livestock killed in bushfires
- Morrison denies Facebook post an advertisement as he announces fires recovery agency
- NSW fires blanket Canberra in thick smoke, leading to orange skies and poor air quality
- Coming back from holidays? Here’s what you need to know about the Australian bushfires
The wife of a young father who died while trying to defend his property against a bushfire on the NSW South Coast has paid emotional tribute to him, telling friends “we are broken”.
- Police said the pair stayed to defend the property and farming equipment
- Robert Salway’s wife, Patrick’s mother, discovered their bodies when she returned this morning
- The Badja Forest Rd fire has burnt through more than 82,000 hectares
Patrick Salway, 29 and his father Robert, 63, stayed at the family property at Wandella, about 10-kilometres north-west of Cobargo as the Badja Forest Road fire approached on Monday night.
Police said Patrick’s mother discovered the men’s bodies when she returned to the burnt-out property this morning.
Patrick’s wife, Renee, posted a tribute to him on Facebook on Tuesday evening:
“I love you now, I love you still, I always have and I always will. I will see you again Patrick, my best friend. Hope you are up there ‘fixing things in the stars tonight’.”
Ms Salway thanked those who had sent their condolences.
“We are broken,” she wrote.
The couple married in 2014 and have a young son.
A friend, Andrew Thorek, described Patrick as “an amazing man who brought so much joy and laughter to everyone”.
“You don’t have to stay strong Renee, but know you aren’t alone,” he posted on Facebook.
Another friend, Melissa Corbett, wrote that Patrick, like his father Robert, had “a heart of gold”.
The Badja Forest Rd fire has burnt through more than 82,000 hectares in the Snowy Monaro Local Government Area.
The main street of Cobargo was engulfed by flames, with the NSW Rural Fire Service estimating dozens of buildings in the historic village were destroyed.