Boston, Massachusetts – The Holliston police department has issued a warning to the general public about a possible email scam using the name and logo of the Martin Richard Foundation. The scammers are apparently soliciting money and personal information from their potential victims.
Police officials said that a local resident approached the police department regarding a suspicious email bearing the non-profit organization’s name and logo. The message encouraged the recipients to donate money as an option.
On its official Facebook page, the police department has stated that, “We have spoken to members of the Martin Richard Foundation and have confirmed that they do not solicit donations in this manner and that their main fundraising is done through their official TeamMR8 runners and supporters.”
This development comes just a few days before the sixth anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing where Martin Richard, then an 8-year old boy who lived in Dorchester, was among those killed.
Holliston police officials analyzed the email for signs of fraud, and there were many. For one thing, the subject line was “Bank of America NY” while the sender was stated as “from the desk of Dr. Charles Holiday, Jr.” These are considered as red flags since the Martin Richard Foundation doesn’t solicit funds in this manner.
For another thing, the email asked for personal information that should never be provided to another person, especially an unknown sender, since these can be phishing activities. The personal information asked for included the receiver’s name, phone number, bank account number, social security number, and license number, among others. The sender apparently asks for the information for money transfer purposes.
According to police officials, individuals who receive solicitation for donations should always research the organizations behind the solicitations before making fund transfers and the like. They also stressed the importance of never providing unknown or suspicious third parties their personal information.
Furthermore, scammers only want their victims’ money as well as become rude and aggressive in the process. In case of doubt about the legitimacy of a letter, an email, or a phone call, the police department recommends meeting with one of its officers for assistance.
As the police officials added, it’s important to go with your gut. If something seems fake or strange, then it likely is!
The general public should report potential scams to both the local police department and the Federal Trade Commission; contact the latter at ftc.gov/complaint or at 1-877-382-4357.
The Martin Richard Foundation was established in 2014 in honor of its namesake. The non-profit foundation is dedicated to the promotion of education and sports in the local community, especially among the young people. With their increased community engagement, young people learn the ideals of volunteerism, as well as inclusion, kindness, and sportsmanship.
Since its establishment, the foundation raises funds through Team MR8, its charity team, which runs the annual Boston Marathon. Named after Martin Richard’s initials (MR) and his favorite number in sports (8), the team consists of volunteer runners and runners who didn’t qualify for the competitive race because of their time scores.
From the funds raised by Team MR8, the foundation invests in a wide range of youth-centric projects. These include the Martin Richard Park Project, the Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester’s Challenger Sports Program, and community clean-up drives, among others.
The Martin Richard Park Project is still under construction with a budget of $7 million. According to the Boston City government, it will be at 64 Sleeper Street, Children’s Wharf Park in South Boston Waterfront adjacent to the Children’s Museum.
The donations to the Challenger Sports Program are, in turn, used in financing various athletic projects for children with disabilities.
Martin Richard was the youngest fatality of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing where Krystle Campbell, 29, of Medford, Massachusetts and Lingzi Lu, a graduate student at Boston University were also killed.
On April 15, 2013 at about 2:50 p.m., two bombs containing BB-like pellets and nails exploded near the Boston Marathon’s finish line on Boylston Street. These bombs were placed about 50 to 100 yards apart and exploded about 8 to 12 seconds of each other. These were contained in pressure cookers that were, in turn, hidden inside backpacks.
President Barack Obama strongly condemned the act of terrorism and promised to bring the individuals or groups behind it to justice soon after. By April 19, 2013, The Boston police identified Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as the bombers; they were brothers residing in Cambridge, Massachusetts who legally immigrated from Chechen to the United States.
Today, the Boston Marathon is as strong as ever despite the challenges that came in the aftermath of the 2013 bombing. As in pre-bombing years, the media is filled with inspiring stories of people who have persevered despite the odds or who have used the Boston Marathon as a staging point for their dreams.