Charity collection & fraudulent websites

Since the devastating tsunami that hit Asia there has been fantastic resolve to get the counties affected back on their feet again.At the time of writing the British public have managed to raise a fantastic £100 million to put towards the International fund with many people choosing to make donations over the Internet by choosing the webpage of an involved charity and making a payment using a credit or debit card.

Most notably is the website www.dec.org.uk which is an organisation which co-ordinates the UK’s National appeal whenever there is a disaster overseas – By heading to this site you can choose to make a donation of any value in order to help those in need.Although the website is very poorly designed and isn’t doing a particularly good job of handling the large amount of traffic that has been thrown at it in recent weeks I still appreciate the important role it is playing.Those of you who have not yet made a donation should head to the address given above and make a pledge even if it is only for a very small amount.

It is good to see everybody pulling together however an e-mail that was forwarded on to me recently really did shock and illustrated the low depths that some people will stoop to.It would appear that there have been a number of people setting up bogus sites and circulating spam in order to try and trick members of the public into giving money to phoney charities.This is damaging not only because they are taking money that would be going to genuine causes but also because it will cast doubt in peoples minds regarding a number of genuine charity sites that are on the Internet as well as enthusiastic individuals that are trying to raise money.I also find it incredibly frustrating that these people could potentially make a large amount of money by cashing in on others misfortune and hope that those responsible are caught.

I have also seen a number of e-mails which I’m almost certain must be hoaxes; for example there is an e-mail which an image of a small boy attached that I have received 4 times now from different sources.The e-mail says that he has lost his parents and it pleas for someone to come forward who knows him but I am convinced that the boy in question is unrelated to this catastrophe.If a large number of similar e-mails started circulating then it would bring the ISP’s to their knees coping with the increased traffic.

There are a number of guidelines that whilst seemingly obvious which will help prevent these people making money in the current climate.First and foremost always do check that you’re donating to a registered charity and if in doubt you can always check their credentials by visiting www.charitiesdirect.com.Another serious point is that you should never follow instructions coming from an unsolicited e-mail; no respectable charity would request money by spamming you.Finally, don’t give money directly to a webmaster who says that he will pass it on to a registered charity; I have provided a link on the Refresh Cartridges website asking for donations but when the user clicks the link it forwards to www.dec.org.uk – I would never dream of asking my customers for money myself and promising that I would pass it along!

Do dig deep and visit www.dec.org.uk now to make a donation securely online.You may also like to consider visiting www.charitiesdirect.com to find a charity that you believe in so that you can make donations to help these causes at times other than during a major disaster.

About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.

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