Potters, don’t be mugs!

There is a nasty little scam going on, targeting artists and craft workers. You’ll get a cold call from “Kids for Life”, a “charity” helping terminally ill children. You’ll be offered advertising space in their magazine in which you will be declaring your support for the charity. The guy talks fast and, if you’re a mug like me you’ll be thinking “OK, I doubt I’ll get enough sales to cover the cost of the ad, but it’s going out all over Wales, so you never know, and, in any case it’s in a good cause. Within about 24 hours you’ll see the draught copy (graphics lifted straight off your website) and you’ll be invoiced by “Inpress Media”, a company that may well be bona fide.

A copy of the magazine will arrive – pictures of children with shaven heads, trite articles. Check the ads from the “supporters”. Unless it’s from an artist or craft worker you will find it is a fake. The email addresses don’t exist. Google the company names. They don’t exist either.

Not long afterwards “Kids for Life” will call again asking you to update your “subscription”. I have contacted the only other genuine advertiser, a painter, and he tells me the guy became “abrasive” when he began questioning him. I raised the issue of a scam (I’d heard, by now of this trick) and pretty quickly – “OK mate” – he hung up.

Infinitely worse things than this have happened to my family, so I’m not going to beat myself up about it, but what makes this scam particularly despicable is the exploitation of sick children. It is going to make the task of genuine children and cancer charities that much tougher.