Goldhawk Fights Back: The world rallies to help Haiti
This is a weekly column by Dale Goldhawk, Canada’s best-known consumer advocate. A journalist, author and broadcaster, Dale hosts Goldhawk Fights Back For You, on AM 740 or at AM740 ZoomerRadio, Monday through Friday from 11 am to 1 pm, in the eastern time zone. Visit his website at www.goldhawk.com.
The Canada Revenue Agency is warning generous Canadians to be careful when donating to relief programs for Haiti earthquake victims. Already, the bad guys are all over this latest chance to make an illegitimate buck.
Despite Hollywood’s contention that con artists are cool, smart and entertaining—such as Paul Newman and Robert Redford in The Sting; despite the fact that showbiz scammers such as George C. Scott in the Flim-Flam man are uproariously funny, there is little that’s truly funny about fraud.
In the Flim-Flam man, Scott concedes he had no college education so he conferred upon himself, his own degree, an MBS CS DD. That’s a Master of Back Stabbing, Cork Screwing and Dirty Dealing.
Real scammers are nothing more than common thieves who will steal from anybody. They don’t care. They have no heart. Scammers who work in boiler rooms will entertain each other with the outright lies they pitch to their telephone victims. The non-critical and non-judgmental generosity the scammers find among people they target is written off as nothing more than gullibility.
Symantec, the spam and virus experts, say the fraudulent internet pitches for money began within 24 hours of the quake in Haiti. The pitches masquerade as legitimate charities and the early ones are using some of the language often seen in the Nigerian e-mail scams. No sense making up new words if you can re-arrange the old words.
Some of the scammers are using Haiti-related subject lines just to entice you to open the e-mail — and hoping you will open any attachment which is likely to automatically download a virus or spyware onto your computer.
One e-mail comes from the mysterious Haiti Disaster Response Agency. The address is a post office box at the Hotel Montana in Port au Prince. That hotel has been destroyed by the quake.
One last tip: Never send money to a “charity” via Western Union or MoneyGram. Legitimate charities do not use these untraceable services.
Here’s what I would suggest, if you want to make a difference in Haiti. First, always contribute to a registered charity —- they are registered with the Canada Revenue Agency and are searchable online.
When choosing a charity, I would choose one that has on-the-ground experience with Haiti. Those include the Canada Red Cross, Care Canada, UNICEF Canada, The Salvation Army and Doctors Without Borders.
Photo ©iStockphoto.com/ Keith Binns
READ OTHER COLUMNS BY DALE GOLDHAWK
Gemini award nominee, journalist and broadcaster, Dale Goldhawk has earned Canada’s trust by his four decades of work exposing fraud and greed in the marketplace. To read more of his articles, go to www.Goldhawk.com (now part of the ZoomerMedia family of websites).
Don’t miss Goldhawk Fights Back , on the New AM740 Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.