When Disaster Strikes – Opportunists
Almost daily we hear of stories about natural disasters around the world, and the good work being done by aid agencies; however there are others who get try and get on the bandwagon to help when disasters strike – opportunists.
Over the years, opportunistic con artists and others wanting to get on the bandwagon to be seen as helping have exploited natural disasters to fleece people wanting to help through financial contributions to rescue efforts,
In the days following a natural disaster, it’s not uncommon to hear about crooks’ attempting to take advantage of tragic events for personal gain.
Typically Opportunists do a variety of things from saying they’re doing such and such to assist, others send emails purporting to come from known and respected organisations. Those who try to use a disaster to ‘raise’ their own profile are doing so selfishly, and have no real intention to actually do anything to help. Most do this to get attention in the community, and media.
People need to be wary of emails from strangers seeking contributions to causes assisting in the wake of a disaster.
It’s important to realise, that many legitimate companies, organisations, and individuals use the Internet to mobilise help for victims of disasters, and to share information about developments; but, opportunists too can, and do, use email or social networking sites to reach a wide audience of potential victims.
We need to be cautious about any approaches we may get that mention a disaster. We all know the main players when it comes to assistance in the wake of a disaster – Red Cross, Oxfam; as well as your local community organisations.
When we’re looking at giving to relief efforts, we should give to organisations we know and trust – if we receive approaches from people claiming to be collecting money that will go to charities, ask who they’re directing the money to and check with them that the people making the approach are doing an ‘appeal’ for them – make sure it’s genuine before giving.
Unfortunately there are opportunists out there, and we all must be mindful of the negative affect they can have on the good work being done by those doing legitimate things to help.
When you’re approached to offer help, money, goods or services – ask questions, the legitimate organisations would sooner you asked than gave to the rogues.
If you’re an organisation assisting communities who have been affected by a disaster, it’s important that your message is clear as to who you are, your role in assisting in the area affected, what assistance is needed and how this will be used.
Being an open book with the people you are asking for assistance from is important, and will help you in your efforts to gain the support needed.