Watching what’s going on in Haiti is heart wrenching. It’s also the time that some of the worst people in the world come out to prey on those who are trying to help. People of the United States are some of the most giving people in the world and many scammers play on that. The Internet and mobile technology has become a huge tool to raise quick funds for those in needs. A program set up by the US government allows people to text to their mobile phone carrier and they will automatically add $10 to your phone bill and donate that money to Haitian victims and it’s raised over $5 million in the last few days. What also has risen is the all the scams set up using legit looking domain names to steal money from people trying to help. Just as bad are these people on Ebay trying to sell the domain names for a profit.
Names like HaitiQuakeRelief.org and dot com are perfect for trying to make someone think they are giving to a real fund. As of last night , 250 domain names relating to the Haiti disaster had been registered with popular domain registrar Go Daddy, Neil Warner, CISO and vice president of technical operations told SCMagazineUS.com. “Based on the past, there are going to be some out of the 250 that are malicious,” Warner said.
Everyone’s advice is the same. Only give to charities you already know. Charity Navigator, a charity watchdog has a nice list of trusted sources for sending money to help Haiti. Ironically, one of the recommendations they give is NOT to give any money to the government as it’s known to be corrupt. And don’t respond to email solicitations. But then again, who responds to email solicitations anymore anyway?