Search This Blog

A Word About Our Blog Entries

The Julie Group shares a professional interest in the area of digital and emerging technology and law. As professionals there is a rich and deep appreciation for the differences of opinion that can appear in this space. You must never assume that opinion, where it is introduced is universally shared and endorsed by all our volunteers. Nor are they necessarily the very best snapshot of a given issue.

Readers are expected to think about the issues, question everything worth discussing, and add value to the conversation by correcting what's here or broadening the understanding of the subject. This is part of the educational process between us all. Our hope is that this exercise results in better law, law enforcement, and citizen participation in forging sophisticated social understandings of the technological forces changing our lives.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Don't Get Burned Twice

As Randy Abrams in his blog piece Don't Get Burned Twice points out, "The current fires in Southern California are causing misery to hundreds of thousands of people ... As is the case with all disasters there are good people rallying to help and bad people trying to exploit the situation for profit. It may be a good time to remind people about some best practices to make sure that the money you earmark for helping people goes to helping people."

He offers some sage advice about how to avoid getting scammed, "First of all, do not respond to email messages soliciting donations, even from legitimate charities. These messages often are not sent by the charity itself. If you get an email from The American Red Cross and you wish to donate to this respected organization, do not use any information in the email as it may have been sent by a scammer that will redirect you to their fake Red Cross web site. Instead, look up the phone number for the Red Cross, or open your browser yourself and type in" He then goes on to say that if the American Red Cross is not your favorite charity, "A site that can assist you with determining the legitimacy and effectiveness of a charity is" And above all, "do not give cash to people claiming to represent charities. At LAX or other public places a person may approach you claiming to be collecting for victims of this or other disasters. They may even have impressive documents that are easily printed on a home PC. Some of these people are undoubtedly legitimate, but unless you are a psychic you probably won’t know. Take the information about the charity they represent and look it up before you part with your money."

As he says, "A few simple precautions will help prevent you and the victims you seek to help from being victimized."

And congratulations to Randy and his fellow employees at ESET LLC for volunteering their time and money to assist victims.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and should not be interpreted as an official position of The Julie Group.

--Chip Neville

PS. Fellow Julie Group blogger Karoli has a dead-on post, Attention Mainstream Media: Quit Comparing SoCa Fires to Katrina! at odd time signatures.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A quick note on the American Red Cross. I gave $100 to the Red Cross during the Katrina disaster. Since then I have been inundated with requests from them and other charities for donations. This leads me to believe that they sell or otherwise share names of donors.

I suggest that the safest, and most private method of giving is to locate a bank with a charitable fund in the area. You can do that by contacting San Diego radio and television stations for a name. Send a money order to whichever fund they suggest. That ensures your privacy.