Given the scale of the destruction and misery in Haiti caused by the earthquake this week, it is not surprising that many people have been moved and motivated to give money or goods to help the people affected. It is also not surprising that with money flying about as freely and unselfishly as it is that someone is going to find a way to get in the way of that money and the people who need it; or at the very least set up some malicious and thoughtless roadblocks.
The easiest way to spread these malicious memes is through social media. Facebook, Myspace, Twitter etc., move very quickly and when people find an idea that motivates peoples emotions it is really easy to spread misinformation and myths. One of the bigger ones this year was the election of a "facebook president" that the French press bought hook line and sinker. Social Media is perfect for the dissemination of gossip and lies, so we must all remain skeptical when someone asks us for money.
I have seen several dubious claims of money donation of facebook this week. They all are a vaiation of "pass this message on and I will donate X to haiti". One FB group claimed that they would donate $1 for every fan that joined another 25 cents- I suspect no donation will be passed on.
Scopes.com has a great page that is accumulating hoaxes surrounding the Haiti disaster and fund raising. When making a choice to donate, I would suggest finding the company with the greatest throughput of your money to the people they say they are representing. This is a list of those who have been deemed the most efficient in expenses and fundraising as per Forbes magazine. And this is another article in Forbes on how to spot dubious charities.
I think you cant go wrong with Doctors without Borders and the Canadian Red Cross. Stay away from anyone, especially an anonymous private citizen or facebooker who is claiming to give money if you do so-and-so : it is usually a hoax.
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