Sunday, October 23, 2011

Verify Phone Numbers of “NGOs”

Have you ever received a call from persons claiming that he or she is a representative of an NGO working for vulnerable children and against human trafficking? The caller will boast of the many good deeds the NGO did for children and victims of human trafficking. He or she will then inform you about their ongoing programs and projects and would ask you for voluntary donations, kind or cash. If you tell the caller that you will give cash, he or she will instruct you to deposit the money to an account number, ask your credit card number or ask you to wire transfer the money. You will notice that the account number is a personal account, and when you ask about it, the caller will alibi that it is the director’s account number. If you say that you will donate in kind, like used clothes, books, foot wear, toys, and the like, he will tell you that some people will come to pick up the stuff. And they will surely pick it up.

The question is, do your money and your donated goods really go to the beneficiaries? Or are there really beneficiaries? Worse, is that NGO really exists?

Now, let me tell you where your money and your goods go. Your money goes to the pockets of the criminals who called you. Your goods are sold in other parts of the world, particularly the developing countries where used clothes, bags, and footwear from the U.S.A. and Europe sell like hotcakes.

Should you receive calls like this, get the phone number that called you and verify it by checking the basic details of the caller like name, address and crowd-sourced phone number reviews. Report the incident to proper authorities. Although it is such a good deed to help, we should also be careful in doing it because there are people out there who are more than willing to suck blood out from their clueless victims and benefit from them even using the less fortunate ones as excuses and reasons for gaining for themselves.

Somehow, this story is really sad. But it does happen. Do not support scams and schemes like these by being more vigilant and guarded. If you want to help, make sure that you are donating to organizations and people who really think of others before themselves. Some organizations even have their personnel earning thousands of dollars instead of the money being used for the many beneficiaries. Earning decently is good and being rewarded for your hard work is okay, but if it is earning more than what you can decently live on, while the people who should benefit more from the donor’s money are still poor and living below the standards, then you should start thinking again. And if these personnel are working in an NGO, would it not be proper if they are more concerned with the people they are helping instead of themselves getting cars and macbooks?

So, the next time you want to help, do it properly and make sure your donations really go to those who need your donations the most.

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