Yemeni Needy Families Fall Victim to Fraudsters

Sheba Intelligence | 2023-10-06 10:53 AM


Some individuals in Yemen claim to work for relief organizations that offer financial and in-kind support to needy families in multiple Yemeni provinces. They use deceptive approaches to collect money from families in return for registering them as beneficiaries.

On Thursday, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Yemen warned against fraudulent procedures some persons use to obtain money from citizens in exchange for alleged services from the ICRC.

In its statement, the ICRC said that all services and assistance it provides are free, indicating it has never asked for cash from families.

It has been nine years since Yemen plunged into a civil war, creating an army of poor people across the country. Getting aid from charities is a dream for thousands of families, and this makes them vulnerable to deception.

Um Mohammed, a 45-year-old housewife in Maeen district of the capital, Sanaa, said two men who claimed to support poor people had deceived her nine months back.

She told Sheba Intelligence, “I came across them near my rented house near Al-Raqas Street, and they began introducing themselves to me. The two men said they register poor women, enabling them  to receive monthly cash aid.”

Um Mohammed knows that some families actually receive cash aid from charities, and others get support such as wheat and cooking oil. Because of that reality, Um Mohammed did not doubt the intention of those two individuals.

 She added, “I gave them details, including my name, age, and number of children. They were writing down all the details. I was happy that I would be able to get a stable income.”

The two men asked Um Mohammed to give them money, saying they would quickly endorse her eligibility for receiving the cash aid.

At the time, Um Mohammed did not have cash, and they proposed she could give them gold if she had. She was keen to get her name approved for monthly cash aid, which would make a difference in her life.

Um Mohammed told Sheba Intelligence, “I gave them my gold ring to ensure my name is registered. They said they would inform me when my first cash aid would come. They left and never came back. I lost my ring and have not received any cash from those men. They just added to my misery.”

UN reports say Yemen remains one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises. 21.6 million people require humanitarian assistance in 2023 as 80 percent of the country struggles to put food on the table and access basic services.