Sponsor child contacing me on facebook and messenger

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I had someone friend me on facebook then send me a message in spanish through messenger. I don't read spanish but could figure out it said that she was my sponsor child's mother. I looked on facebook and both facebook accounts the mother and my sponsor child have pictures of my sponsor child on their pages. I didn't immediately respond because I have been getting several messages on messenger and friend requests on facebook from people in foreign countries that I have no idea who they are. The next day I got a friend request from my sponsor child however the first name was spelled just a little differently. I also got a messenger message with a picture of the last letter I sent him and it just said thank you for sending me letters and telling me about your family. He went on to say that my 7 month old granddaughter was very cute and used her name. Part of me thinks that is neat that this family would reach out to me however another part of me is suspicious that maybe this really isn't my sponsor child contacting me, but how would someone else have my last letter?? I'm wondering how they found me on facebook? Is my first and last name, address, etc. on the letters that they get? Please advise. Thank you!
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Paula

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Posted 2 years ago

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Mr. & Mrs.Hughes

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This is suspicious how would a poor child have access to Facebook and how did your letter get into the hands of anyone else. I know that there is a rule that the families sign an agreement not to contact sponsors directly, but only through compassion. Don't friend these people until the people at compassion can check it out. If they are breaking the rules their project needs to know and tell them to stop.
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Susan, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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Mr. & Mrs. Hughes, I don't mean to freak you out but just wanted to let you know that actually many sponsored adolescents have Facebook accounts. They might not have internet access at home or even home computers but many of our centers have computers for vocational training and many areas around the world have cyber cafes where people can access the internet for pennies a minute. They may even have internet data on their phones. For more information, please read this blog post I wrote on this subject. 
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Shannon Massey, Employee

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Hi Paula,
Mr. and Mrs. Hughes is correct. We do not know for sure if these people are who they say they are. More than likely, they are because they are proving it through having that letter, but you never know. Regardless, Compassion does have a policy that the child and family agree and sign that states they will not contact their sponsor directly. In this very connected, digital age, there is a possibility that a sponsored child will contact their sponsor through email and/or social media. Compassion strongly advises that sponsors not respond to the communication. It is important for the child to respect and follow Compassion guidelines as well as honor the privacy of the sponsor. These contacts may develop into potentially problematic situations for Compassion and the sponsor. In order to protect both parties, Compassion does not allow direct contact between children and their sponsors. We are committed to confidentiality and privacy and can only ensure this with communication solely through Compassion. Though it may be exciting to receive a social media friend request from your sponsored child, there is no guarantee that it actually is your child who is trying to contact you. We have two blog articles on this subject that you may be interested in reading: http://blog.compassion.com/what-should-i-do-if-my-sponsored-child-contacts-me-via-facebook/ and http://blog.compassion.com/why-cant-i-communicate-with-my-sponsored-child-via-facebook/
Furthermore, if you are using the stationary provided by Compassion, your child does see your full name, as displayed on your account. However, they are not provided your address, or any other contact information. It is possible they used your name from the letter to find you on Facebook, as even those in poverty typically have access to the internet.
We would urge you to block these people on Facebook and maybe address the situation in your next letter, just letting them know why you blocked them. They do understand it is against our policy and if it continues they may be asked to leave Compassion all together. Please also provide us the child number of this kiddo so that we may warm their Compassion center and just give them a kind reminder of the policy. Thank you very much for bringing this to our attention!  
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Mr. & Mrs.Hughes

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Susan, well it doesn't exactly freak me out, in fact I thought about the kids learning about computers at the centers after I had sent the post.
(Edited)
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Mr. & Mrs.Hughes

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OK most of my post just blanked out. Anyway I read your blog and have decided that I'm less tech able and savvy than a massai herdsman in the desert, since I have to sit in my car or be at work i in order to use my smart phone. We get no reception at our house and our electricity is limited to four hours a day and comes from a generator. So I charge my phone in my car or at work also. I'm starting to wonder if I should ask to be sponsored.
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KristenH, Champion

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" I'm starting to wonder if I should ask to be sponsored."
I'm sure this was an off the cuff comment but I hope you realize how distasteful it was. Perhaps even after reading the article you don't understand how different cell service is in 3rd world countries as compared to the USA. One thing is for certain that those of us in first world countries, even the poor, are much better off than those in Compassion's program.
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Mr. & Mrs.Hughes

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You're right, the post was all both pointless and distasteful, also downright rude. I'm sorry. I meant for it to be a joke but reading it now I can see how unfunny it is. Please know that I believe highly in compassion, and in the great work you do with the children. I'd just spent a marathon nine hours trying to figure our income tax on a cheapo cell phone with an uncooperative and unreliable Internet, and instead of being thankful for having income to figure, I was feeling frustrated with everything. Please accept my apologies for taking it out on this site. Sincerely Cathy
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Debi

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Kristen and Kathy, in a world that can be noisy and combative, the gentleness of your interaction is an encouragement to me today. Thank you.
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KristenH, Champion

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thank you for clarifying Cathy. I hope your day got better.  :)  
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Mr. & Mrs.Hughes

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Eventually it did....I went to bed,and forgot about it for a few hours. In the morning the sky was a clear beautiful blue and the Internet waves found their way to the front door of the house so that I could get the forms sent and got the message that they were received and accepted, so that's o e monkey off my back.

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