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Tommy Pilling: Conmen Pose As Couple To Steal Fundraising Cash

February 2, 2021

CROOKS posing as a grieving widow with Downs syndrome are targeting the family’s loyal supporters in a bid to con them out of cash.

Fraudsters claiming to be Maryanne Pilling are attempting to gather collections in memory of her late husband, Tommy.

The pair made history as the UK’s first couple with Down’s syndrome to marry, but Tommy sadly lost his Covid fight on January 1.

In the wake of his death, a host of fake social media profiles have been created on Instagram and Facebook claiming to be raising cash in memory of Tommy to help support his wife.

Maryanne’s sister, Lindi Newman, 33, has slammed the individuals for taking advantage of the family during their time of need.

She said: “Someone tried to hack their Instagram and Facebook accounts and then created fake accounts and messaged followers posing as Maryanne and asking for money.

“It’s so awful – they’ve now blocked us so we can’t see what they are doing and I think it’s an attempt to cover it up.

“Lots of people have reported the fake accounts but they are so similar and I am concerned people will not know the difference.

“With Instagram the real account uses a capital M and T in their names.

“We had about 50 messages from people who were contacted by these people and they were asking us if it was true.

“They would have never asked for money like this and anything that was donated went to homeless charities or organisations.”

Tommy, 62, from Shoebury and Maryanne had celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in July and shielded for much of 2020.

The couple boasted 70,000 followers from across the world.

Mrs Newman added: “It’s disgusting and people have seen his passing as an opportunity.

“It’s only just a month since he died and we’ve got enough to deal with without all this too.

“I just hope their followers do not stop supporting them but I do not think anyone has given any money and most people knew it was a scam. 

“Their real social media accounts were never about this but are about sharing their story.

“Maryanne is not doing too good at the moment and it’s not getting any easier for her.

“I am worried it will get worse when she goes home. We don’t know what she’s going through as everyone grieves differently.”

Last month huge numbers joined an online candle service in memory of Tommy.

The family held the service and encouraged followers around the world to join in by lighting a candle and posting images online.

Visit http://www.instagram.com/maryanneandtommy/ for any official fundraisers set up.

 

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