THE Jack & Jill Foundation has reassured supporters that online donations are secure after the cash-strapped children's charity was forced to refund more than €130,000 in fake donations.
More than 1,000 donations received through its website over the past month-and-a-half were found to be fraudulent after it was targeted as part of an international credit card scam.
On a single day last month, the charity received 190 donations totalling more than €42,000. Individual amounts ranged from two cent to €3,000, with the majority under €5.
The donations were made as a way of verifying if a stolen or skimmed card was still active so it could be used for further fraudulent transactions or sold on to other criminals. Once the card is verified as active its re-sell value increases hugely.
But the charity, which helps children with neurological problems and their families, insisted yesterday that online donations are safe despite the recent scam.
"We felt it our duty to go public so we can alert other charities and remind the public to check their statements for these small 'tester' amounts which are a sad reality of credit card skimming," said Jack & Jill CEO Jonathan Irwin.
"We've provided rebates on more than 1,000 fraudulent payments, marking each piece of correspondence with the words 'fraud alert'. This has taken a huge amount of time in administration, which has been the real cost to Jack & Jill.
"It's tough for every charity out there, and a credit card scam like this is cruel and very time-consuming."
It is believed the transactions were made from skimmed cards linked to financial institutions in Luxembourg, Venezuela, South Korea, Puerto Rico, Italy and Ireland.