Have you recently received this particular email in your INBOX?
From: Dr Williams Steve [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, June 20, 2008 7:48 AM
Subject: HELP THE NEEDY TZU CHI FOUNDATION, CHINA EARTHQUAKE.
TZU CHI FOUNDATION.
TZU CHI FOUNDATION CAMPAIGN IN AFRICA/WORLD.
28 AWOLOWO ROAD, IKOYI.
LAGOS STATE NIGERIA.
Join the recovery efforts underway to assist earthquake victims in southwest China. Your donations to the organizations listed below will help survivors and other disaster victims rebuild their communities and their lives. 100% of contributions will help support emergency relief efforts in China.
HELP THE NEEDY is working together with its long-time local partner, The Tzu Chi Foundation (TCF).
Tzu Chi is delivering supplies, support, and services directly in Sichuan, and is also committed to building villages with homes, schools, and hospitals in the most devastated areas. http://www.google.com/chinaearthquake/
Please no matter what you have can change and bring back the life of the affected ones in the earthquake. Please send your donation to.
We are expecting your donation through money gram or western union money transfer. We pray that God will replenish you in whichever way you have donated to help the affected ones. We need to receive your emails of courage as a contribution through our email address:
Please send your payment information to any of the email address for you will get our acknowledgement of your donation as soon as we get the message. Thanks and God bless you.
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has contributed seriously during the saga and after the natural disaster.
DR. STEVE WILLIAMS
The Coordinator Help The Needy
BBB and other authorities say don’t believe it, and think twice about responding to this particular email with a twist.
Authorities are unable to ascertain proper registration for "Help the Needy" and "The Tzu Chi Foundation" with ties to Lagos and Nigeria.
This specific email is misusing similar official names of legitimate organizations to throw you off.
Bottom line? Be a wise donor and do your homework to know the difference between a scam and the real thing when donating. This e-mail asks recipients to send money via Western Union. The money will supposedly be transferred to organizations in Lagos and Nigeria. Consider these requirements for donating to be a red flag!
BBB wise giving alliance www.give.org tips
The Internet is filled with unsolicited e-mails (spam) claiming to be from relief agencies. Although some appeals may be legitimate, we know that many will be swindles.
If you respond to such emails, they will ask for your credit card number to buy food and clothing for victims, but instead will steal your card number and possibly even your identity. These spam emails often come from questionable sources. We believe that many are connected with organized crime rings. Just because an e-mail appears legitimate, don't assume it is. Use extreme caution answering such unsolicited appeals.
*When donating to American charities, make sure they are well established and have a 501(c)(3) tax status. You can verify this on the Internet. Go to www.irs.gov and search for the charity in Publication 78 of the Internal Revenue Service.
*Relief agencies have appealed to the world for financial help, not gifts of food, blankets, clothing, etc. Sending packages overseas is a real problem and the local agencies know what is needed far better than we do.
*Beware of mail order or phone appeals that are long on tear- jerking stories about the tragedies but short on details of exactly what their charity will do. Vague appeals from familiar-sounding charities may mask a swindle. Instead, call or go to the well established charities and send your donations directly.
*Beware of high pressure. Legitimate charities will be around tomorrow or next month. Also, when making a donation, always make your check out to the name of the charity, not to any person or to cash.