While a tremendous number of Twitter and Facebook users have been managing to pull together in an effort to offer aid to victims of the recent earthquake in Haiti, it’s also precipitated a number of fraudulent messages doing the rounds.
For the most part, those messages being passed are in praise of companies, with mobile carriers Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile receiving an awful lot of positive feedback for their decision to make texts donating money to Haiti free, meaning that charities should see the full amount that users are trying to donate. On the other hand, some companies are finding that what they’re being reported to have offered is a little outside of their capabilities.
Perhaps most notorious, as reported by TomsGuide, is a message doing the rounds so thoroughly that many of you will likely have already seen it, which simply reads
“UPS is shipping anything under 50lbs for free to Haiti. You can send food clothes or shoes…and American Airlines is taking doctors and nurses to Haiti for free. Please call 212-697-9767. Spread the word…Red Cross needs Creole speaking volunteers for a 24hr phone bank. Call Mr. Wilfrid @ 305-776-6900 ASAP…Please Repost this Info.”
It seems that people have taken the last line especially to heart, with the message being propagated across both Facebook and email inboxes just about everywhere. Indeed, it seems to have managed to gain traction enough for the folks at American Airlines to feel they needed to address it directly, issuing a statement to the effect that it, in fact, doesn’t offer any flights to Haiti at the moment.
It’s interesting to see the extent to which entirely incorrect messages have managed to propagate, likely because they are just a bit too good to be true… people are more likely to share things if it looks like someone is making a massive effort, sadly.