vrijdag 12 juni 2009

Peace Future School defrauding kids?

Someone thought it a good idea to help African people in & outside Africa and to do so, collect money from others. But how to get people to give you money? Well, one soft target are kids. So when you have a volunteer working for you who is linked to a school, why not use that opportunity?

So you register a site, copy the content [one page] of another site and sit back watching the kids donating money. Simple & potentially effective. Until a parent gets a little suspicious and decides to contact the school and ask them what this is all about. As it happens, the school knew as little as what the copied one paged website let them know: nothing really.

Another parent used some who is, some google-fu, some Maltego & some RL contacts in the fraud business. Everything found smells fishy, except the person who claims to be behind the Peace Future School. They go to extended lengths to assure the doubters that all is very legit, all is being done in good faith, there is no official registration YET, but surely that will be done one day, there is no content for the site YET but that too is on it's way, there are many trustworthy people behind the project but not one links from their site to the Peace Future School YET but that will surely come.

But what is the truth? Is it just a bunch of innocent people who do not know how to setup a reliable looking site or are they fraudsters? I leave the verdict up to you, but for my kids there is no way they are going to be giving money to this particular initiative. No matter how much private money the spokeswoman claims to have spend on it, no matter how many well connected people she claims are behind it, no matter how strange and surprising it was to all volunteers that people are doubting, no matter how sad it makes her Nigerian partners to be confronted with suspicion, no matter how many volunteers are emailing from free email addresses.

The people behind this will not make the same mistake again. They now will get some links to and from the site, and some content, change the graphics, list some names, do some more foot work and all that jazz. They learned from the incident and will not make the same mistakes. So for the next person who gets contacted and who does some online research, it will get harder to find in dices. That is worrying and reminds me of an experiment of the people behind Fake Trust.

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