The heartbreaking series of tweets apparently posted by a homeless person who was given a phone appear to have been fake, an investigation by a homelessness charity has discovered. So farewell, CharlieBinbags.
The CharlieBinbags Twitter account appeared in March and was the month's viral sensation, with its first tweet starting with the legend "I'm #homeless. Not evil" and bagging tens of thousands of retweets and seeing the profile rack up thousands of followers in a flash. Worse still, because we're actually a nation of caring people even though we try to look cool, stacks of individuals and charities raced to be the first to offer homeless Charlie help, whether in the form of food, shelter, clothing or whatever else might assist his plight.
What the tweeter really needed was a conscience transplant, though, as homeless charity Streets Kitchen has now declared it a fake and a figurehead for a network of scam accounts created to profit from charitable contributions and people's generosity, and has also forwarded evidence to the UK's crime reporting centre Action Fraud.
Other accounts linked to the CharlieBinbags persona have hosted fundraising efforts for other presumably fictional troubled individuals, the profile photo wasn't his – or was at least lifted from another account – and other social presences that vouched for Charlie seemed to be linked to a Paypal donation scam network.