Scammers taking advantage of the Haiti tragedy

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.

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12 Comments

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Troll said,
I seem to recall a thread in RWI attacking Fox News for pointing out the exact same thing...oh the horror!

Context is important.

Fox was raging at Youtubers talking about donating if they hit X suscribers. MSNBC published a list of organisations that are genuinely handling donations. The only irony here is the inability of those who worship at Rupert Murdoch's altar to find a lack of equivalency for the blatant hyper sensationalisation of the FNC.

Additionally, MSNBC reports that Mobile donations have exceeded $9,000,000.

Holy crap! Considering the amount shows up on your [i]next[/i] cell phone statement, it looks like the cell phone providers have donated $9,000,000 and are anxiously awaiting their customers to pay their bills...

This is really disgusting and low....Spam is the reason I hate using email. Although I don't get much of it and gmail does an excellent job of filtering 99% of it, I know people that get dozens of spam emails a day and some of which uses popular world / political issues to get you to send money to some alleged charity or some desperate person in need and you get burned for trying to be a good Samaritan!

Sadly this was something to be expected. If anyone wants to donate, I suggest watching CNN or any other major news channel, they periodically tell the different ways you can send money.