Tragic bushfire victims are exploited by sick scammers who set up a fake fundraising page and conned well-wishers out of almost $4,000
- Patrick Salway, 29, and his father Robert, 63, died trying to defend their home
- Soon after their names were reported, fraudsters set up a fundraising campaign
- They raised almost raised almost $4,000 before the campaign was shut down
The family of two men killed in the New South Wales South Coast bushfires have been targeted by scammers.
Dairy farmer Patrick Salway, 29, and his father Robert, 63, died trying to defend their home from bushfires in Cobargo in the south east of New South Wales.
Soon after their names were reported, fraudsters set up a fundraising campaign on the website Go Get Funding and raised almost $4,000 before it was shut down.
Patrick Salway, 29, pictured with his pregnant wife Renee – died fighting the fires with his dad Robert Salway as they continued to ravage areas of NSW
The scam raised almost $4,000 before it was shut down. Not everyone who donated got their money back
The scammers used the name of Mr Salway’s sister’s niece Megan, the ABC reported.
The scheme was exposed when Megan started getting messages from people wanting to donate.
Megan’s father Dean Hancock said his daughter was so upset he initially couldn’t understand what she was saying.
‘She was absolutely bloody beside herself.’
Patrick Salway (pictured with his wife Renee) was found by another family member after trying to tackle a bushfire attacking his family home
‘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.’
A victim of the scam was tried unsuccessfully to get their money back, but many were able to cancel their payments before the money was withdrawn when the banks re-opened after the New Year public holiday.
Go Get Funding told the publication multiple funeral and memorial campaigns had been targeted over the last few months.
A man walks through rubble after fires devastated the New South Wales town of Cobargo on December 31, 2019
Mr Salway and his father were described by devastated neighbours as ‘two salt of the earth blokes’ who died defending their home in Cobargo.
Their bodies were found by another family member early on Tuesday.
Mr Salway was expecting a second child with his pregnant wife Renee.
The devastated widow took to social media on Tuesday to tell her friends she was ‘broken’.
The remains of burnt out buildings are seen along main street in Cobargo on December 31
‘I love you now, I love you still, I always have and I always will,’ she wrote.
‘I will see you again Patrick, my best friend.
‘Hope you are up there ‘fixing things in the starts tonight’
‘Love forever, Harley and me.
‘Thank you everyone for your concern. We are broken.’
Ms Salway also shared an intimate photo of her late-husband with their son, Harley.