You are wisely doubtful re anything received over email, and we also tend to be dubious about anything received. Some might not be even in Africa, but might be business-people in New York or Atlanta. We, like you, have also seen these scams, and so, are cautious. We have developed email relationships with all the Love Ministries affiliates in the various countries.
For our best example, we have exchanged several dozen emails, over many years, with Love Ministries of India, and have known our representative for years. Our friend from Uganda has also written several times, often revealing details (such as her birthday) about her life. Our friend in Pakistan has had, for years, a specific ministry to the downtrodden women in that very poor and largely Islamic country. (She is one of three contacts made in her country.) Our friend in Tanzania sends many, and regular, photos of his educational seminars in small cities in his area.
Our friend in Kenya has started a house-church, and has delightedly aided us to distribute a book to his friends whom, he says, "fell in Love" with it.:) In fact, we did encourage our contact in Kenya to send us a "snailmail" so that we could make sure that we were dealing with a real person, really in Kenya. (He is one of three original contacts in his country; the other two knew him, and he them.)
There is no "foolproof" way around the many frauds and phonies on earth.
Frankly, we also have no way to determine these things except by God-guided intuition, which we follow. Love-guided intuition can be the most reliable of all, although most Westerners are unaccustomed to thinking in these terms. (But you, my friend, know what is meant.:) Thanks for asking; if there is another way that these contacts can be confirmed, we are open, and would like to hear about it. In the meantime, good karma comes from donating to any charity as if it were the "real thing," and the karma is good as long as you believe that it is the "real thing."
Thanks for asking. This is a very sound, solid, and fair question. We are sorry that we do not have absolute proof, except for India.