The people of Haiti need every dollar coming their way through legitimate text-messaging programs and other means, but scammers and spammers are doing what they can to get in on a piece of the action and make you question if your money’s going to the right place.
Someone started spreading false rumors to BlackBerry users in the form of an instant message, saying that BlackBerry’s parent, Research In Motion, would be donating 35 cents to the Haiti relief effort every time the message was forwarded to another person. RIM has donated money and BlackBerry devices to the cause, but is not contributing in this manner.
A RIM spokesperson told MSNBC that it’s possible that this not a malicious attempt at fouling up donations. The message could have originated from someone who was simply confused about the company’s position. Either way, it’s a problem.
There are plenty of true and legitimate ways to give to the Haiti relief effort via your mobile device. The mGive foundation is collecting money for the Red Cross. You just need to text “Haiti” to the number 90999 and $10 will be added to your mobile phone bill. For a less expensive alternative, another nonprofit allows you to text “Yele” to 501501.
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