Young women claims to be sister of child we sponsored for 15 years, now adult, from Africa

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We sponsored a child in Uganda from the time he was a toddler until 18 years of age. Since he is of age and out of school his sponsorship ended. It’s been about 4 years and out of the blue, a young woman contacted my husband on Facebook messenger and claims she is a sister of the boy we once sponsored.
She claims that she did not live with the boy and their mother for several years because they had several kids in the family and she had to live with her aunt because her mom was struggling financially. We have received several pictures from compassion which only show our sponsored child and one other sibling with their mother. Never a picture of this young woman. We were told, however, that there were 5 people in the family. She seems to have a lot of information about this child and his family that corresponds with what was mentioned in the letters he wrote to us. She even sent pictures that match the pictures we have on file and she took a picture of the 2 Christmas pictures we sent to the child 10 years ago. We were convinced this was our sponsored child’s sister since the info and pictures she shared with us matched. We have been chatting on Messenger for several weeks and today she asked us if we could help her get a job here in the United States. . She says that she and her brother, who whom we sponsored, are not getting paid regularly from their employer and she wants to leave her country to work to support her mom. She didn’t straight up ask us for money but i know it must be coming. I am afraid that someone may be impersonating this family and trying to take advantage of the situation. If it is really them, I would like to help them somehow. Will compassion confirm the names of the sponsored child’s siblings after the sponsorship has ended? Is this a known problem in Uganda? She says that the sponsored child does not have access to FB and she is relaying our conversations to him and their Mom. I want to confirm that he is now in his early 20’s and she is, as well. Please let me know if you will help to validate her information so we can feel more comfortable that we are talking to the person she claims to be. Thank you
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Melanie Blum McGehee

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Posted 5 months ago

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Sarah, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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Hi Melanie! I am so sorry that you have run into this scenario with this young woman. Regrettably, we are not able to confirm the identity of this young woman and whether she is or is not the sister of the boy you sponsored in the program. Because of the number of children that Compassion ministers to (currently over one million), we regret that tracking children who are no longer in the Compassion program is beyond the scope of what Compassion can do. I can tell you have a compassionate heart towards the young man you sponsored and his sister if this truly is his sibling, but we would highly caution you in proceeding with any kind of financial help since we are not able to guarantee that the person you are talking to through Facebook is indeed related to him. Even if it is his sister, we also cannot guarantee that any money you may send or help you offer will actually be used in the way you intend it to be used. We do see children try to contact their previous sponsors after they have left the program. In a very digital age, it's a fairly common situation. Truthfully, though I completely understand and empathize with your compassion towards this young woman, I highly suggest that you do not continue the conversation since you cannot verify that you are indeed speaking with the person you think you are.
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Melanie Blum McGehee

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Thank you!

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