Eshowe Rural COVID-19 Response

MSF: Scam alert

We provide recommendations on what to do if you are unsure if you were the subject of a scam or fraud involving a supposed MSF staff member.

MSF Southern Africa has received a growing number of inquiries from people about individuals contacting them on online dating platforms or social media with claims of working with MSF abroad or locally requesting financial support for various reasons. 

In late 2021, several women in Gauteng came forward reporting men claiming to be MSF fieldworkers (often medical staff) on online dating applications (Bumble, Hinge or Tinder) or professional networking tools like LinkedIn. Typically, men claimed to work for MSF in order to gain their trust or seeking to impress them, soon thereafter offering their targets dubious import business opportunities and eventual requests financial support for their academic studies once establishing a relationship. 

At other times men present themselves as MSF fieldworkers working in conflict zones (Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Syria etc.) and due to various reasons (like a completion of contract, early assignment discharge or falling sick etc) the men request targets to help pay deposits for return travels from project locations, extra luggage or customs fees.

MSF Southern Africa confirms that these claims by men in such circumstances are false and this behaviour exploits MSF’s name and abuses people’s kindness. 

Fieldworkers' conditions of employment

Here are the facts about our fieldworkers and the conditions of their employment: 

  • MSF fieldworkers never simultaneously work with private medical facilities and our organisation at the same time since MSF does not have such arrangements;
  • MSF field workers are all working on a voluntary basis in our field projects. If they need to return earlier due to personal reasons, they can end their field assignments and they will not be charged for leaving the projects earlier than originally planned;
  • MSF covers transportation and accommodation throughout their assignments (travel costs from their residence, project locations or trainings);
  • MSF provides field workers with all of the supplies and equipment they need in field projects.

Therefore, legitimate MSF fieldworkers would never need to ask anyone outside the organization’s management for financial help or other resources during assignments.

We are appealing to anyone who has encountered any of these scams, please contact us immediately. 

Call our office on +27 11 403 4441 or email


List of other reported scams:

  • People posing as MSF staff, requesting money to pay for medical procedures for fictitious patients.
  • People posing as MSF staff, claiming to have been detained on their way home, and asking for money to be released from detention.
  • People posing as MSF staff (or using the name of the organization) to make professional connections or false job offers. They may also request payment, “application fees,” or ask for your personal data.
  • People posing as MSF staff (or using the name of the organisation) to accept packages or pay for delivery cost or courier fees.
  • People setting up fake websites copying MSF information in order to commit online fraud.
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