Return to mobile version

Fraud Alerts

From time to time, Make-A-Wish® and its supporters fall victim to scams that illegally make use of the good name and trademarks of Make-A-Wish.

As a matter of policy, Make-A-Wish does not participate in chain letters, telemarketing or sweepstakes activities.

Chain Letters (mail, email and social media)

Each day, Make-A-Wish and its chapters receive hundreds of inquiries about chain letters claiming to be associated with Make-A-Wish and featuring sick children.

We do not participate in these kinds of wishes. Some names associated with these wishes are: Max, Amirtha, Jessie Anderson, Shane Bernier, Matt Dawson, Chad Briody, Amy Bruce, Jeff DeLeon, Rhyan Desquetado, Anthony Hebrank, LaNisha Jackson, Nikisha Johnson, Craig Sheldon, Craig Shelford, Craig Shelton, Craig Sheppard, Craig Shergold, Bryan Warner and Kayla Wightman.

New holiday chain message about "Max" not affiliated with the Make-A-Wish Foundation:

A new chain message being circulated suggests that a boy named Max recently wished to receive a million Christmas cards. The Make-A-Wish Foundation is NOT affiliated with the alleged request in any way, shape or form. We have checked with the hospital, where, according to some posts and emails, Max is supposedly being treated. They have informed us that they have no such patient. 

If you receive a chain letter claiming ties to Make-A-Wish, please:

  • Inform the sender that Make-A-Wish does not participate in chain letter wishes.
  • Refer the sender and all recipients to this page.
  • Do not forward the chain letter.
  • Refer senders to ways they can help, such as referring a child, making a donation, donating their time and talents, or donating treasures.

Only one of these requests is based in fact: In 1989, a then-9-year-old boy named Craig Shergold wanted to be recorded in the "Guinness Book of World Records" for receiving the most greeting cards. His wish was fulfilled in 1990 by another wish-granting organization not associated with Make-A-Wish. He received more than 16 million cards. Craig is now a healthy adult, and he has requested an end to the mail. Mail that is received is forwarded to a recycling center.

The time and expense required to respond to these inquiries distracts Make-A-Wish from its efforts on behalf of children with life-threatening medical conditions and, more importantly, can divulge information that is potentially harmful to a child and his or her family.

Fraudulent Sweepstakes Alert

Make-A-Wish urgently renewed a nationwide scam alert today (June 14,2012), warning individuals not to believe anyone calling their homes and posing as federal employees demanding advance payment of taxes on fictitious sweepstakes prizes supposedly awarded by Make-A-Wish.

A number of individuals have reported to us that they, or a family member or friend, have received a phone call informing them they have allegedly won hundreds of thousands of dollars (e.g., $350,000) in a sweepstakes or lottery associated with Make-A-Wish. These individuals have been told that, in order to claim their “prize,” they must first wire money to cover taxes, insurance and courier services on the supposed winnings.

This is a scam. Make-A-Wish is NOT associated with any kind of sweepstakes or lottery, and it has always had a strict policy prohibiting telemarketing in its name to raise money.

Callers may claim to be agents of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Internal Revenue Service or the U.S. Customs Service. They often provide fictitious names and phone numbers of people who falsely claim to be representatives of Make-A-Wish or insurance carriers such as Lloyd’s of London.

The FTC has issued a consumer alert urging anyone who receives such a call to file a complaint with the real FTC at ftc.gov or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP.

“Unlimited Wishes” Spoof Video Continues to Appear

An Internet video depicting a fictional news story about Make-A-Wish continues to circulate on YouTube and other video sites.

The video portrays a wish kid whose wish for unlimited wishes has put Make-A-Wish’s future in jeopardy. The “Today Now!” segment is not true, and all characters, including wish child “Chad,” are fictitious. The spoof was produced in 2008 by The Onion, which is well-known for using satire to parody news events. Make-A-Wish is financially sound thanks to its many generous donors, and we do not grant “unlimited wishes” to a wish child.

We appreciate your support for the Make-A-Wish mission and the thousands of courageous children we serve.