In the aftermath of 9-11, Americans quickly donated $2.2 billion to charity. Nearly 40 percent of donations came from corporations, foundations, and other businesses. And 36,000 units of blood were given by individuals to the New York City Blood Center.*
On September 12, 2001, the day after the tragedy, www.scambusters.org reported that they were already seeing email scams asking for “emergency relief funds” that directed people to give to the Red Cross—through the spammers’ websites.
So what are two steps that can be taken by ordinary folks to make the world better?
1) Donate to legitimate charities only.
2) Don’t send money to scams. Any scams. Ever.
Did you know?
Al-Qaeda is just one of a number of terrorist groups and criminal networks repeatedly said to raise money through scams like foreign lotteries and advanced fee fraud and the sale of pirated software, music, and knock-off brands.
The Dutch daily De Telegraaf in 2004 contended: “People who buy fake Gucci bags and Swiss watches sold…on the sidewalks of Fifth Avenue in Manhattan contribute to terrorism…”
Author Rachel Ehrenfeld states in her book Funding Evil that “Without money, especially laundered U.S. dollars, [italics mine] there would be no terror…”
And a blogger from www.industrypace.com with a background in cybercrime says “Different types of wire fraud, credit card fraud, phishing and other scam mechanisms have been tracked back to terrorists over and over again.”
So if you think that you having nothing to lose by depositing a suspicious check into your bank account; if you are tempted by the idea that “they owe me” or “I can get money for nothing,” think again. You could end up owing the bank hundreds of dollars, being investigated, and/or contributing to international terrorism.
If you wish to contribute money to a charity, we recommend that you do so directly through the organization’s site, or to a local chapter. Do not give over the phone to an unverified or unknown caller. To check the track record of unknown charities, go to www.bbb.org, http://www.charitynavigator.org, your own State Secretary of State’s office or http://www.irs.gov
I cannot think of a better way to conclude this blog than with the now-familiar phrase: United We Stand.
*statistics courtesy of Charity Navigator