Friday, January 22, 2010

When Good People Get Taken Advantage of...

There are a lot of opportunists in this world, and that is a sad thing to see.

For example, take the recent tragedy in Haiti.  The Red Cross and other humanitarian efforts have been taking legitimate donations, and I think that is awesome.  In an excellent use of technology, the Red Cross is using a new service called "Text 2Help" - this service allows you to send a text message to a special number and donate $10 (this will appear as a charge on your cell phone bill).  This is the first major catastrophe that I can remember seeing this used, and it's apparently worked.  This text donation plan has raised over $21 million dollars, according to CNN. 

However, as I said before, the opportunism is shocking.  Thomson Reuters reports that there are a number of reports of people taking advantage of this situation.  For example, people are using the same spam mailing lists that they use to try to sell you Viagra and say your bank accounts have been hacked to send out emailing claiming to be important people in Haiti who need YOUR help moving money...or advertising false charities and taking donations on behalf of the victims of the earthquakes...or setting up Web sites inviting people to enter their email address for more information on how to help...it's just a little disheartening.  It's not like this didn't happen before computers; people would call up and do this over the phone years ago and use it as a pretense to get people to give out credit card information.

It always seems so sad that people resort to things like that.

2 comments:

David J. Csuha, CPP, CFE said...

The scamming will get worse. We will see many variations of the "419" scam rise out of this disaster. You can also count on adoption scams and work at home scams referencing the Haiti disaster.

http://www.scambusters.org does a decent job of keeping abreast of the latest frauds and scams.

Anonymous said...

Great link Prof. Csuha! Great article Prof. Cameron!

Thanks for sharing this information. Very useful and very sad too.