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Spam The Internet

FBI Warns: Many Tsunami Relief Pleas Are Fake 353

Posted by timothy
from the mailboxes-inundated dept.
lgrinberg writes "Even in the face of terrible disasters such as the Tsunami that hit South East Asia and Africa in late December, many are finding ways to take advantage of it and make money off of it. An example is fake websites that claim to be non-profit charitable organizations that help out the victims when they really take all the money for themselves. Other instances are emails or websites written by people who claim to be survivors of the disaster and are asking for help. The FBI warns that many of these are fake and recommends people to help via known non-profit organizations."
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FBI Warns: Many Tsunami Relief Pleas Are Fake

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  • by Lindsay Lohan (847467) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @04:08PM (#11305264) Homepage Journal
    many are finding ways to take advantage of it and make money off of it
    ZDNet Australia [zdnet.com.au] had a good article a few days ago about a website, http://www.incybernet.com [incybernet.com] that the Red Cross and Tasmanian police were investigating for fraud. They were using the Red Cross logo, soliciting for credit card, money order, or cash donations. Of course, they wouldn't return calls from the mobile phone number listed on the website.

    Amazingly, the site is still up. The owner, "Damion", offers the following weak apology:
    "My sincere apology to redcross Australia and world vision Australia , and other well know charity's for disfame i might of bought to your relief efforts or your company"
    • Not only that, it doesn't render well in Firefox. What is wrong with these people?
    • Through my unauthorised site to accept donations i did not raise no money nore did no one donate to the site

      Am I just overly-skeptical... or is this claim quite hard to believe?
      • by 0racle (667029) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @04:28PM (#11305400)
        I have no doubt that it's completely true through the use of the double negative. In plain English, '...did not raise no money,' is raised money, and '...nore did no one,' is some people did. So now we have, 'Through my unauthorised site to accept donations i did raise money and people donated to the site.'

        That or he is just this side of illiterate.
        • No, he's pretty much over the side, I'd say, even by Slashdot standards.
        • It has been my policy over the years never to deal with anyone who can't manage to render his ideas in passable English. Any legitimate operation is at least going to hire somebody to keep an eye on their official verbiage. And anyone smart enough to speak and write decent English is probably not going to need an illegal means of earning a living. This policy has served me well and has been virtually foolproof.
      • Through my unauthorised site to accept donations i did not raise no money nore did no one donate to the site

        Am I just overly-skeptical... or is this claim quite hard to believe?

        It is. It's also extremely atricious English (dobule negatives). I try not to be irritated by grammar/spelling errors, but people writing in such a phonetic Neanderthal way as

        disfame i might of bought

        and 'nore', etc., makes sparks in my lobes.

    • "How can they sleep at night...?"

      I feel the same way about most religions who take money from their parishioners and buy gold alters and the like while still claiming to be charitable organizations.

      • Just not charitable to OTHERS. Giving them money so they can buy gold altars is very charitable to them though.
      • by servognome (738846) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @05:48PM (#11305855)
        *GASP* You want God to have a cheap bronze alters? He did create everything in existance, don't you think he deserves a little better. You shall be burned for heresy, using only the best and most expensive oak and cherry wood, for God's vengence knows no price.
      • by evilmousse (798341) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @06:13PM (#11305986) Homepage Journal

        ahhhh geez, that art is in a large sense communal.

        spurn the church's patronage of art and you spurn michelangelo, donatello, and all the rest of the ninja turtles. seriously, people forget that though science and society seems to have outgrown the need for dogma, the church through history propped up the infant institutions of art, and most especially reading education (you learning-worshippers, you. pre-gutenberg writing was often religion's.) i would venture to say that the majority of venerated art though world history has been at least in part religious.

      • by lord sibn (649162) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @06:53PM (#11306164)
        Alright. Substitute a "Gold Altar" (which, by the way I have never seen, and i've been around a few times. the worth of such an altar would suggest a high profile target for theft) for "a staff of 30,000 (pulled from my ass statistic) workers who must be compensated in some way.

        Get this: Gold Altars are not in high demand among any major religion. Funds to procure such altars are scarce. You are pulling information out of your ass. Information pulled from your ass is equally well refuted by information pulled from mine.

        So in that vein, I'd like to see these gold altars you claim to be so common.

        I realise there are charities that exist which do not pay their volunteers. but there are so many more that do than there are that do not, you've got no grounds for complaint.

        Mod me a troll if you must, but consider: There is no evidence (apart from anecdotal) to support the outrageous claim that any (arbitrary) religious "charities" pocket their income to buy "Gold Alters" (misspellings included) and donate only the leftovers to help those in need.

        Mere disagreement between you and a few members of a particular religion is not conclusive proof that the religion in question squanders funds donated for charitable causes. Get the records if you want, and get back to me.

        I can't vouch for your donations, but in all the churches i've attended, financing records are available to anybody who dares to question them.

        If what you say is true, then Uncle Sam must not care that we're buying Gold Altars with those funds we declared would be sent to relief aid for those tsunami victims. /me prepares for the onslaught of -1 (Troll) mods
    • Moral Insomnia (Score:2, Insightful)

      by fm6 (162816)
      How can they sleep at night? Well, siphoning off some charitable contributions is evil, but not as evil as, say, hitting somebody over the head and taking their wallet.

      And let's not forget all those "legitimate" charities that spend as much as 80% of their contributions on their own "expenses". (The standard of the "charity industry" is supposed to be 25% overhead -- but I find even that much repulsive.) Which is why, when I reach for my own wallet, I examine the organization I'm giving to as carefully as

      • Re:Moral Insomnia (Score:2, Insightful)

        by AntiNazi (844331)
        How can they sleep at night? Well, siphoning off some charitable contributions is evil, but not as evil as, say, hitting somebody over the head and taking their wallet.

        many would argue that. atleast in #2 you have to work for the cash and the person has a chance in hell of defending themself...
      • Well, siphoning off some charitable contributions is evil, but not as evil as, say, hitting somebody over the head and taking their wallet.
        1. Diverting money intended to provide relief for people who are starving and without shelter, in dire need of medical aid and driking water.
        2. Inflicting physical harm on an individual and taking away some of his money as well as most of his IDs and his sense of security.

        We're clearly comparing apples and oranges here, but #1 isn't less evil, it's just more cowardly (it

    • surrounded by many beautiful woman.

      Come 'on poeple, not to troll or anything but this isn't anything to be surprised over. Heck, real charities were throwing out warnings about this crap as soon as talk of charity hit. People are evil, film at 11. Get used to it.

      Now what is kinda fscked up is seeing spam used for this, especially ala 419 scamming. Still, you got to be kinda dumb to fall for this:

      My home and everything I own was destroyed by the Tsunami, except mysteriously for my computer and the
    • How can they sleep at night...?

      I thought this was basic psych stuff.

      There are people that simply don't care about anyone other than themselves. They simply don't or can't put themselves in the shoes of the people they deal with. Often, this type of is called a sociopath or psychopath.

      Closely related, there are also people that truly have malicious intent against others. They'll do anything they can to benefit themselves.
      • I had a psych professor that defined it this way: "A psychopath is a person that doesn't know right from wrong, and a sociopath is a person that does know right from wrong but just doesn't care."

        Psychopaths are more dangerous in some ways but are easier to spot (the obligatory chainsaw is a dead giveaway.) Sociopaths, on the other hand, generally do more damage overall because they are very good at protective coloration (i.e., "fitting in") making them very difficult to detect. Significantly, the more c
  • by Peden (753161) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @04:11PM (#11305282) Homepage
    Happened in Sweden (or maybe Britain). When the lists of missing persons was release, some people cross-referenced it to the list in the phone-book. Then they went out and fsking robbed the houses of the mising persons!
    • At least it happened here, in Norway, but probably other places as well.
    • I heard it other way round: the swedish government did not release the missing lists in first place to prevent those incidents.
    • by Looke (260398) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @04:25PM (#11305385)
      That is what happened last time Sweden was hit by an accident this large. When the ferry Estonia sank in 1994, 800 or so were killed. This experience is the most important reason why the list of missing/dead Swedes has not been published yet.
    • The list was never released by the state department (UD) in Sweden due to fear of this as it happened earlier when lists such as this was released to the public. So somebody told you a lie about it happening this time.

      The thing that did happen was that when newspapers and tabloids published names and photos of missing that relatives sent them; then some of those were robbed.
    • When the lists of missing persons was release, some people cross-referenced it to the list in the phone-book. Then they went out and fsking robbed the houses of the mising persons!

      Here's a thought: Release the list, but first warn the relatives and fill the missing person's houses with carbon monoxide.

      Extreme? Yes, but I think those crooks deserve it.
    • In britain some moron went around phoning the relatives of the missing telling them their loved ones were dead.

      You gotta be pretty fucked up to want to do that.

      (although not half as much as when his cellmates find out what he's in for).
  • OH GUSH (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I just donated $100 on Amazon.com!!
  • Wikipedia (Score:5, Informative)

    by JaxWeb (715417) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @04:13PM (#11305302) Homepage Journal
    As many of you have probably seen, Wikipedia is listing charities in various countries of a temporary page. They mention the need to look out for fraud, but I hope none of the sites listed are fraudulent in any way. The page is here [wikipedia.org] .

    This is a news story [sky.com] about somebody changing e-mail headers to pretend to be the British government confirming friends of the recipients to be dead. Very sick. Luckily, the police acted in this case.
  • by wfberg (24378) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @04:13PM (#11305306)
    Why do dumb/naive people keep falling for scams like this? Each disaster these scams pop up, each time the public is warned about them, but it still works..

    Is there some sort of university program I'm not aware of, pumping out mindless peons by the thousands each year so they can make the same mistake as others did last year? Apart from Hamburger University of course..

    Then again, University of Miami law professor Enrique Fernandez-Barros [miami.com] somehow managed to become part of a 419 scam in which $1.68 million got lost...

    • One of my buddies way back in high school used to have a saying:
      "People are people, and people are stupid"
      I usually think that to myself anytime one of these type of things is reported or otherwise mentioned :)
    • Is there some sort of university program I'm not aware of, pumping out mindless peons by the thousands each year so they can make the same mistake as others did last year?

      Yeah, its called the public school system.

      How many schools even have a "home ec" course anymore? And of those, how many actually teach useful modern information like how to balance a checkbook, how to read a credit card statement, how to keep a budget, how to compute interest, how to critically read an advertisement, etc? From what I
      • People need a firm grounding in basic, day-to-day economics and high school is the place it ought to happen - it certainly will be more useful to 90+% of the students than memorizing the dates of the civil war...

        Warning - cynical views ahead.

        You forget one important matter - public schools don't exist to benefit the students, they exist to benefit the society. If they also happen to benefit their students, good, but that's more or less a side effect.

        Now then, lets think on this a little:

        1. If peopl
      • I believe the state of CA requires all high school students to take a basic course that includes that information, as well as how to be wary of advertising, how people lie with statistics, and how the stock market works. It's rather basic, but useful information.

        Lea
      • Err.. by public schools I assume you mean state schools?

        In this country 'public' schools are private schools (yeah I know, never made sense to me either).

        I had a real hard time reading the post with that assumption in my head :)

        Then again, public schools turn out managment types... Hmm... maybe I got it right on first reading...
    • Apart from Hamburger University of course...

      Hey! The University of Hamburg [uni-hamburg.de] is quite a prestigious university, you insensitive clod!

    • Perhaps many people are trusting and caring and nice to take pleas seriously. At the same time, they haven't yet properly learned that anything they get in their mailbox through spam can safely be dismissed as scams. The better keyword would be "uninformed" or otherwise "unexperienced".

      I have a special folder for 419 spams... it's amusing and easy to recognize as they all follow the same pattern. Yes, it is surprising that even intelligent people can fall for such scams if they let their greed get in the w
  • Giving intelligently (Score:5, Informative)

    by GuyMannDude (574364) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @04:13PM (#11305309) Journal

    Even legitimate charities are sometimes a bit sloppy with how they spend the contributions they get. Many non-profits spend a considerable portion of their donations on fund-raising (read: telemarketers) and compensation of management. One of my favorite non-profits is the American Institute of Philanthropy [charitywatch.org] which is a watch-dog organization that releases reports that "rate" the charities on various criteria. Given the fact that there are so very many organizations that are set up to aid the tsunami victims, I encourage my fellow slashdotians to give their money to an organization that gets an A rating in the guide.

    GMD

    • by jxyama (821091) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @04:23PM (#11305372)
      FYI, American Red Cross is rated A+.
    • by SEWilco (27983)
      The biggest advantage of the existing charities is that some of them are already set up for this type of relief effort, and some were already active in the affected areas. Even if an organization did not have stocked warehouses in the right places, some organizations have people with experience at dealing with emergency situations and can get things moving in the right direction quickly. Those organizations who know how to deal with the political and physical infrastructures also have an advantage over ne
    • by maunleon (172815)
      I would suggest that people split their donations among two or more charities. That way, it is less likely that their money will be stuck due to logistics.

      Personally, I usually go with Red Cross [redcross.org] & Catholic Relief Services [catholicrelief.org].. And please, no argument about donating to a religious charity, it's my choice.

      In the back of my mind there is always the fear that some self-righteous warlord will object to US charities helping those he considers his people, so I sometimes lean to charities not directly associated
  • by SilentChris (452960) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @04:14PM (#11305315) Homepage
    During 9/11, people were shocked that street vendors sold water for $20 a bottle and nearby jewelry stores were robbed. I always thought "Well, if the disaster was of a much bigger magnitude, people would probably not do this."

    Now, 150,000 dead, and we still have assholes trying to make a buck off it. What does it take for these people to learn morals? Is the extra cash worth that much when there's now several thousand orphans? Do we need, what, a nuclear holocaust to get assholes to knock it off?
    • Selling a bottle of water for $20 isn't fraud (although it's unkind). Telling people that their donations are going to help tsunami victims, when in fact it's going to buy your new car, is fraud.
    • The thing that irritates me the most is that almost every company I see has some kind of donations tin (real or virtual). We know you are a faceless corporation and you're only doing it for the PR, so please just give it a rest for once.
    • It's pretty naive and foolish to think that people are going to somehow instantly get morals when a bigger disaster strikes. The kind of people that abuse a small disaster will just abuse a bigger one even more so. Post-holocaust those same people that rob and fraud survivors of "minor" disasters will be the ones taking and stealing everything they can for their own survival, uncaring of whether that theft and brutality affects anyone other than themselves.
    • by Scrameustache (459504) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @05:51PM (#11305870) Homepage Journal
      During 9/11, people were shocked that street vendors sold water for $20 a bottle and nearby jewelry stores were robbed. I always thought "Well, if the disaster was of a much bigger magnitude, people would probably not do this."
      Now, 150,000 dead, and we still have assholes trying to make a buck off it. What does it take for these people to learn morals? Is the extra cash worth that much when there's now several thousand orphans? Do we need, what, a nuclear holocaust to get assholes to knock it off?


      I don't follow the logic of that at all.

      Why would heartless vultures stop being opportunistic thieves because something bad happened to other people? They lead lives where they constantly look for their next victim, they routinely inflict misery on others, and you, somehow, expect them to suddenly stop being leeches because an unrellated event killed a lot of people at once?

      I seriously don't understand how anyone could be surprised that thieves keep on thieving, even when you're upset. If someone has no empathy for the people he/she routinely con in person, there is no reason to expect them to have empathy for the faceless dead, no matter how numerous.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @04:15PM (#11305319) Homepage Journal
    According [sevenoaksmag.com] to Allan Nairn [google.com], a journalist who's been an Indonesia eyewitness for decades, most of even the legitimate aid money is funneled through governments like the Indonesian, which then funds further attacks on any surviving, devastated populations of these resource-rich "rebellious" regions. Nairn does recommend ETAN [etan.org], which funnels aid to the indigenous "PCC" relief org - which seems the most conscionable course, at least until someone blows the whistle on them.
  • Fraudulent claims (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Gary Destruction (683101) * on Sunday January 09, 2005 @04:16PM (#11305325) Journal
    It seems that fraudulent claims in the wake of disaster are becoming commonplace. During 9/11 there were many scams and fake pleas for disaster relief. Such claims are no different than denying people the help that they need. In a way, it's almost like a DOS attack against victims.
  • by jwdb (526327) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @04:17PM (#11305333)
    The nigerian scam artists have have updated their mailings - I just received one from a person claiming to need help distributing $32m to relief organizations in return for a 10% cut.

    Are they ever gonna give up?

    Jw
    • Where can we donate to a fund to hire some goons to break their kneecaps?

      -jcr
      • DEAR RESEPECTED MR. JCR

        MY NAME IS 1337_/.3r AND I RECEIVED YOUR HIGHLY
        PRAIZED NAME FROM A BUSINESS ASSOCIATE. I AM IN
        GREAT NEED OF YOUR ASSISTANSE.

        I HAVE SET ASIDE THE SIZEABLE SUM OF $1,000,000 (ONE
        MILLION US DOLLARS) FOR THE USE OF TRACKING DOWN THE
        NIGERIAN TSUNAMI SCAMMERS AND BREAKING THEIR
        KNEECAPS. UNFORTUNATELY I HAVE LITTLE KNOWLEDGE IN
        SUCH MATERS AND HAVE NEED FOR A WISE AND INTELLIGENT
        ASSOCIATE TO STIKE A DEAL WITH THE LOCAL MAFIA.

        I AM WILLING TO OFFER YOU 10% OF THE $1.000.000
        (ONE MILLION US DO
  • When you look at an online forum [203.150.224.71] of an hospital in Thailand, you see more adverts for other sites and forums than real help. There are some sick people who want to get as many victims as possible on their sites and pretend that they want to help. Actually they are not ashamed to flame [203.150.224.71] each other.
  • Reliable Orgs. (Score:5, Informative)

    by jfonseca (203760) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @04:18PM (#11305339)
    I've posted this in another discussion.

    Not karma hoaring, mods can skip this if they wish, here is a list of reliable places where you can donate [google.com].
  • Education (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Sunday January 09, 2005 @04:19PM (#11305350) Homepage Journal
    This sort of nastiness is really part of the whole spam/phishing/credit card fraud continuum. Because the Internet is such an important part of all our lives now, it seems to me that governments need to start putting out some education about this sort of crap. I don't know if it's already being done in other countries, but in the United States the federal government doesn't seem to be lifting a finger to educate people about how to effectively use the Internet.

    This is one of those "ounce of prevention vs. pound of cure" things. If we spend a little bit of money up front to put out TV and radio advertisements, it seems that the government would have to spend far less money investigating these assholes and helping victims of this sort of fraud. If K-12 schools taught kids how to detect online b.s. and community colleges featured this sort of instruction as part of entry-level computer classes, it could go a long way toward minimizing the negative economic impact of the broad range of Internet fraud.

    But of course current thinking in the United States is an extreme form of caveat emptor, so I'm just engaging in wishful thinking.

  • Please Help (Score:2, Funny)

    by JamesP (688957)
    You may not know, but Brazil got affected by the Tsunami big time.

    After all, it's near Jacarta, India and other countries. Several people died in Brazil

    Please help
    • This looks like a troll, but just in case you're serious, allow me to correct your geography a little.

      Brazil is nowhere near India - India is in Asia, whilst Brazil (last time I looked) happened to be a large country sitting in South America. Not too difficult to spot. Also, Jakarta isn't a country - it's the capital of Indonesia.

  • I got one (Score:5, Informative)

    by digitalgimpus (468277) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @04:23PM (#11305374) Homepage
    I got this via email the other day, and decided to post it for others to see:

    Tsunami Scam [accettura.com]

    Sounds like a nigerian letter, but with Tsunami mixed in there.
  • Lack of morals and greed, plain and simple.
    Hell there's even a car dealership down the road offering to 'donate $100 to the tsunami relief for every car sold' once the shock wears off, people try and cash in. It will always happen. Just be on the lookout for the emails from Nigeria wanting to get 'tsunami relief money out of the country' now. =)

    I blame Bush =P
  • Salvation Army (Score:4, Informative)

    by stankulp (69949) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @04:29PM (#11305408) Homepage
    The only charitable organization I contribute to is the Salvation Army.

    They have feet on the ground everywhere in the world, and they don't squander your money. It actually makes it to victims of disaster and poverty.
  • UH DUH! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chanc_Gorkon (94133) <gorkon&gmail,com> on Sunday January 09, 2005 @04:30PM (#11305418)
    This is the danger of everyone and there brother adding links to say help the tsunami survivors to their web pages. Everyone should have just link directly to the Red Cross web site or similar organization. This is why I have not donated anything yet because I want to be absolutely certain that when I donate the money, it goes to the right place. I will probably wait until the real money is needed. There's going to be alot of waste now and when everyone forgets about it is when the problem will really start. It will take YEARS to recover the area affected. It's not something that will even be over on December 26th of 2005. This is a once in a lifetime disaster for much of the world. The loss is tremendous. Unfortunately during times such as this, there's always some incredible assholes who think hey I will scam some people. As always, I give IN PERSON. Walk in to the Red Cross in your town and just give them a check or cash. Only then will you know that a good percentage of your money will go where it's needed. Also, don't just give to the Red Cross now. They always need your money. Make it a yearly donation and increase it a bit when the Red Cross is in need of extra help for hurricanes, blizzards, earthquakes, tornadoes and terrorist attacks.

    Better yet, if your technically inclined, get your ham license and donate sometime to ARES by training in events and field day. Then when disaster strikes in your area, you'll be ready. I used to think it was ridiculous, but after a bad ice/snowstorm took out people's electric and 2-3 inches of rain falling right after that cause flooding in and around Columubus we'd never be needed but in just 14 days we had 2 activations of ARES to staff the red cross shelters with communciators. I know it won't help the Tsunami victims, but then when something like this hits your town, you can not only donate your money but also your time.
    • Re:UH DUH! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by donnz (135658)
      True. Also worth supporting long term initiatives like the this one [independent.co.uk] proposed by Gordon Brown and Tony Blair to the G8.
  • I have seen reports that many of the well known charites and nonprofits spend a egregious amount of money on so-called administrative costs, with only a small percent eventually going to those in need.

    Apparently these "administrative costs" are often things like new cars and fat bonuses for the nonprofits' management...
  • Acts of God (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @04:38PM (#11305466) Homepage Journal
    It will be interesting to see how the FBI deals with "muslim" charities it has identified as terror funding conduits, as their pipes are filled with donations from Muslims (and others) targeting the huge Muslim communities devastated by the quake and tsunami. Will the FBI reveal that some Muslim posers are ripping off virtuous donating Muslims, stealing lifesaving aid to instead fund suicide bombers in their jihad? When some are revealed, how will Muslim leaders around the world react? Will some of the leaders who are complicit with the funders find a way to blame the FBI, and America, for their own sins? And will the US government find a way to frame legitimate Muslim charities with fake charges of this kind of fraud, fueling the counter-jihad crusade? God only knows - god certainly isn't doing anything to stop it.
  • I normally don't email around appeals to people, but the magnitude of this disaster is so large that I have emailed my friends informing them how to donate online.

    I pointed people towards the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies [ifrc.org], which as well as accepting donations online, also provides a convenient listing of Local Red Cross / Red Crescent [ifrc.org] which are probably better for donating through. For instance, I gave through the Canadian Red Cross since the Government of Canada is goi
  • Le Sigh (Score:5, Funny)

    by halcyon1234 (834388) <halcyon1234@hotmail.com> on Sunday January 09, 2005 @04:48PM (#11305540) Journal
    So, should I donate to the Red Cross, or the guy in the mall with the mayo jar and a hand written sign that says "Sunami Relief"?

    Oh, how I wish I was joking...

  • Paramount (Score:2, Informative)

    by pronobozo (794672)
    Paramount Theatres has had spiderman and ET heart pins that are used for rasing money for charities. They are $3 each but they keep 2/3 of the money. In one ad they mentioned they raised 50 million meaning they made 100 million. It'd be nice if they gave their part aswell.
    • They do this regularly in theatres around here. I'd be interested in the source of this claim, to verify that it's true. If it is, that's despicable. I can understand some of it going to the cost of the pins and perhaps a very low administration cost, but $2 out of $3 is fraudulent activity, IMO.
  • beware spammers too (Score:4, Informative)

    by AmericaHater (732718) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @05:01PM (#11305586) Journal
    Someone is circulating an email appealing for help identifying a lost western child. it says this:

    " The boy about 2 years, from Khoa Lak is missing his parents.
    Nobody knows what country he comes from. If
    anybody knows him please contact
    us by phone 076-249400-4 ext. 1336, 1339 or e- mail :

    info@phuket-inter-hospital.co.th
    image001.jpg"

    Trouble is, it contained a spammers zombie (I didn't realise when I got it) and it depends on suckers trying to be helpful and recirculating it to people they know to infect them. That's how it got to me but 'cos I use Linux I was immune and I didnt circulate it anyway.
    What I did do was waste the cops and the Norwegian embassy's time. I recognised the kid in the picture from a TV news report that named his parent nationality name and location. I spent an hour on the phone to the TV station the police and the Norwegian consulate telling them that I knew who the kid was and I could help.
    Turns out they knew anyway so did I do right or wrong? did the spammer do wrong? suppose I had been the only one to indentify this lost 2 years to the parent but I had infected loads of people in the process?

    Spammers - what slime-bags.

  • by thesatch (844290) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @05:10PM (#11305642)
    Check out this story:
    T.O. police arrest man posing as Red Cross worker [www.ctv.ca]

    There's no reason you should to give your money to strangers. If you can't/don't want to donate money over the internet, go to your local Redcross office. Every major city has one.
  • Small is good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 09, 2005 @05:26PM (#11305751)
    Oh great, now people won't give money to the grassroots organisations who are actually doing good stuff. Instead they'll stick to the big charities like Oxfam who spend most of their money on advertising and administration.
  • by buckhead_buddy (186384) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @05:27PM (#11305758)
    Money is an easily transportable way to move physical effort to places that need it; it's the most efficient way for me to help out, but it's also the easiest way for my efforts to be mis-used. There are three ways that bother me about the calls for aid...
    The Debts Owed
    Western banks are holding huge debts that these countries can't realisticly repay. The greedy bankers want asian relief so that they'll have a slim chance of seeing their money again. They'd probably be equally happy with telethons asking for sympathetic viewers to help out by pledging money to pay off these huge burdens but they aren't talking of writing off these debts (only of freezing interest or temporarily restructuring payment schedules).
    The Massive Organizations of Relief
    The best of these agencies have large administrations that need service aid. They need IT upgrades in their luxurious administrative headquarters. They need new parking decks. In the late nineties I volunteered to help a large non-profit in Atlanta for a day. I had all sorts of ideas about cost saving Linux installs, but my job was to act as upgrade boy migrating users to some Windows 98 service pack. The small organizations have trouble doing much but the larger ones are bloated and wasteful of their resources.
    The elite in charge
    There stories of elite hotels and expansive mansions being washed away give me the impression that much of the rebuilding and relief will be wasted on reconstructing the property of the elite rather than basic necessities for the common man.
    Lack of follow through
    A friend who works with a local church based charity said that they ask for money when crises like this arise. They don't say that all donations will go to help those victims. Like a sweepstakes they give out X amount of money when they've taken in 100X.
    I'd almost given up on the idea of sending any money to a charity based on these misgivings. What changed my mind was, oddly enough, a plea on the blog of a amateur pornographic model that I follow. His familial ties to the area caused him sincere grief over the incident and he had selected Oxfam America as the charity he was asking people to give money to. I still have all of these reservations about donating money, but the difference was in hearing a voice I was familiar with make a recommendation of a "least bad" charity to donate to.

    It's really odd when I think about it, but a personal message put out over the internet reached me far deeper than our President's cynical call for (bank) aid, or my church's call for extra donations in the collection basket, or the endless streams of impersonal pleadings that I've seen on television. I guess that's the real power of the internet to raise money... the personal touch... and if some goes astray (as I feel in my gut that it will) I feel much less disgusted with myself for my action.

  • by Magickcat (768797) * on Sunday January 09, 2005 @06:58PM (#11306194)
    How about a banner link for the genuine Tsunami charities on Slashdot?

    I remember one for 9/11, so why not now?
  • BGP Blacklist (Score:3, Insightful)

    by macdaddy (38372) * on Sunday January 09, 2005 @07:13PM (#11306274) Homepage Journal
    This would be a perfect instance in which to use a BGP blacklist of known scamming sites to keep your unwitting users from getting caught up in the scam. nbar is a wonderful thing after all.
  • by ctwxman (589366) <me@@@geofffox...com> on Sunday January 09, 2005 @08:12PM (#11306528) Homepage
    A few days ago I checked my Gmail and found a tsunami plea in my spam box. After enabling the graphics, I was pleased to see the actual charity whose name was being used realized one of their graphics was linked in the phishing email. So they changed it! Here is the result [geofffox.com]. Very clever. They deserve a donation for doing this, if nothing else.
  • by univgeek (442857) on Monday January 10, 2005 @01:17AM (#11307900)
    I've been working with AID (aidindia.org) for 5 days so far. It's been a crazy time - the amount of stuff coming in and going out has been incredible. Primary problem being that stuff comes in small lots, but has to go out in big lots, with first priority going to whatever is the immediate need on the field.

    If anyone is still interested in donating, I'd suggest they look up aidindia.org and the daily reports filed by the field volunteers.

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