A charity has been left picking up the pieces after falling victim to cyber crime.
Bury St Edmunds-based alcohol and rehabilitation charity Focus12 has been defrauded out of £10,000.
Lisa Grove, the charity’s chief executive, said she felt sick when she learned of the theft, which was reported to Action Fraud on Wednesday.
She said: “It makes me feel so sick because it’s charity funds.
“It’s going to have an impact, no doubt about it.
“I just felt like the wind had been knocked out of my sails because I don’t know how someone, in broad daylight, basically, can rob a charity.”
The money stolen would have allowed Focus12 to treat one vulnerable person for almost an entire year and comes as a significant blow for the charity which had been working hard to ensure its financial security.
Mrs Grove said: “It’s sickening. It’s such a lot of money to us, but it could have been more, a lot more, and for some organisations that amount of money can be the tipping point.
“A year ago if this had happened to us it could have been us going under.”
“Someone has to have a lot of front to do this,” she added.
“I just can’t comprehend why someone would want to do it, and I know how hard everybody works to make money for us.”
Mrs Grove wants to make others aware of the scam in the hope of preventing them from being targeted in the same way.
It involves fraudsters authorising payments while posing as company officials.
“No-one is immune from this type of fraud, not businesses, charities or individuals,” she said.
“Whilst simple in its duplicity, it is sophisticated and appears to be authentic to the recipient.”
It is unlikely Focus12 will be able to recover its losses but Mrs Grove said the charity would not be defeated.
“It’s going to galvanise us because we’re all so passionate about what we’re doing and why that it makes us even more determined.”
Mrs Grove is appealing for people to respond to her ‘call to arms’ by donating to Focus12.
Anyone who has been treated by the charity or knows someone who has suffered from addiction is asked to make a donation online at www.justgiving.com/focus12