One might think that working in the gilded cageof the superyacht “beau monde” would, over time, anaesthetize crews' abilitiesto crank up empathy with the outside world. But the facts reveal a differentstory. Yacht crew grow beards, take time out in Thai orphanages, climb Mount Everest, drive fire engines to Mongolia and raisemoney taking part in massage marathons all for victims of natural or man-madedisasters. Generally, crew dig deep to help do good.
But the world, as we know, is a big, bad placeand charity fraudsters are out there looking to syphon off crews’ good will(and hard earned cash) for their own mean-spirited and monstrous designs.
Charity scams pop up like bread from the toasteras soon as disasters strike and fraudulent charity look-a-likes ape legitimatewebsites, circulate false emails and texts requesting donations and corner youin the local bar, rattling an illegal collection tin.
Recently, The British Red Cross (www.redcross.org.uk)was the victim of a series of fraudulent emails claiming to raise money ontheir behalf for the Japan Tsunami Appeal. Explains a Red Cross spokesman, “Manyscams involve emails that claim to be on behalf of the Red Cross and there arenumerous variations: they may direct to a fake website where you are asked forcredit card details, they may offer you a position collecting money on theirbehalf for a percentage, retaining the money you send or using you to laundermoney from criminal activities or they may ask you to donate cash through moneytransfer companies such as Western Union.” There also have been reports ofpeople requesting money over the phone or cash on the door step, but the BritishRed Cross warns that, although they do both street and telephone fundraising,the calls are for direct debit commitment and not for donations to be given bycash or credit card.
The best way to avoid the charity cheats is todo a little research and be aware. Charity Commission UK (www.charity-commission.gov.uk),charity regulator and registrar for England and Wales, recommends thefollowing:
· Don’t open suspicious emails
· Avoid money orders, wire transfers orinternational fund transfers and beware of only website or mobile numbercontact details
· Be careful when clicking linkswithin charity emails, ideally contact them directly on a listed landlinetelephone number
· Never donate directly from a link inan email or a text
· If you are approached for donationsface to face, ask the collector for details of the charity, genuine charitycollectors should be happy to expand and explain their work and make surecollection tins are sealed and undamaged.
· If you think you’ve been “had,” contactthe police.
There is no worldwide body that regulatescharity organizations. You’re best bet is to contact the local official charityregulator. Charity watchdogs in The States operate on a state-by-state basis,but you can find details of registered charities at www.nasconet.org.
Don’t let the scammers erode your gut feeling togive.
Charitable Works from the Crew Mess