We've all seen the messages on Facebook urging us to lend a hand in the Haiti crisis by simply sending a text message. The potential trouble here is that while one of your closest friends has posted the message, urging you to donate, you cannot be sure that they have checked their sources. It only takes one opportunistic scammer to ask for donations on Haiti's behalf and thanks to social networking, make thousands of dollars.
There is, however, one defense mechanism that is tried and true: independent research. MSNBC has released a list of charitable organizations helping in the Haiti crisis. It takes only a few minutes to see whether or not the Facebook message urging you donate by texting to "12345" is a legitimate plea.
Additionally, MSNBC reports that Mobile donations have exceeded $9,000,000. Major cell phone companies including Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile have agreed not to apply standard text-messaging rates to any donations made.
American Express and Mastercard are also waiving fees normally charged to organizations which accept Credit Card payments so that charities receive the full amount donated.
The FBI and the Better Business Bureau have compiled tips for staying e-safe during this crisis. While they are not anything new and groundbreaking, situations such as these might cause many to forget to keep their own security in mind while attempting to be selfless.
Scammers do not take breaks during crises, they do quite the opposite. If you are planning to contribute to the relief campaign take extra steps to ensure that your relief is going where it is needed.