Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Another Charity Hoax - - 15 Cents to Donate Dell Hospital Expenses of Maria, 5-Years Old Girl Raped Brutally

Beware! Its a Cyber World - - Summary:

Facebook message, circulating wildly, claims that Dell Hospital will donate 15 cents to help pay medical expenses for five year old Maria who is in hospital after being brutally raped by a man who has AIDS.

What's the reality..?? In fact, the claims in the message are utter nonsense. Neither Dell Hospital nor any other organization will donate money to help a sick or injured child when a particular message is forwarded or reposted. All such claims are false. This message is just one more in a long series of absurd hoaxes that claim that a child will receive donations when a message is sent on.

Let's have a look to the contents of the message:


This guy raped a five year old little girl. He ruined her life, she is alive & in the hospital can’t move and can never have children, or a normal life. This guy goes by different names he is in hiding & has AIDS. The girl came out positive. Please help us catch this animal. Every time this message is fwd the Dell Hospital will donate $.15 to Maria’s medication & treatment. Please don’t hesitate to fwd this. It could’ve been you’re daughter or sister. God bless. Thank you!. Forward this to as many people as you can.


Beware! Its a Cyber World - - Explanation:

According to this message, which circulates via text, email and social networking websites such as Facebook, you can help five year old rape victim Maria simply by forwarding or reposting the information. The message claims that Maria is in hospital with serious injuries and illness after being brutally raped by a man who has AIDS. It further claims that Dell Hospital will donate 15 cents to help pay Maria's medical expenses every time the message is forwarded to another person.

However, the claims in the message are nonsense and have no basis in fact whatsoever. No sick or injured child will receive donations just because an absurd message is forwarded or reposted. Dell Children's Medical Center has denied the claims in an alert published on its website, noting:
ALERT: SPAM Text Message Makes False Claim

A false text message has been circulating that describes an incident involving a 5-year old girl. The message states that every time you forward it to someone, Dell Children's Medical Center will donate 15 cents to cover the child's healthcare expenses. This message is spam and is in no way affiliated with Dell Children's Medical Center or the Seton Family of Hospitals. If you receive this message, please delete it.

In fact this message is just one more in a long and sorry line of similar hoaxes that claim that a sick or injured child will receive donations whenever a particular email, SMS or social networking post is sent on. Any such claim is certain to be false. No legitimate charity, company or individual is ever likely to agree to participate in an utterly ridiculous fund-raising campaign that is based on the random and uncontrolled forwarding of a particular message.

And, even if some foolish and misguided organization did agree to participate in such an absurd scheme, there would be no accurate and reliable way of tracking how many times the charity message was actually sent on, and, therefore no viable method of calculating how much money was to be donated. For example, in this case, the charity message started as a mobile phone text, then quickly moved on to email, then Facebook and beyond. Clearly, it would be impossible to keep track of a message that might be sent on hundreds of thousands of times in several different message formats.

There are no credible reports that describe the particular incident outlined in the hoax message. It is likely that the story was simply made up by the malicious prankster who created the hoax. To make matters worse, some versions of the message circulate with a photograph of a heavily tattooed man who is identified as the rapist. Thus, the person in the photograph is being falsely labelled as a child rapist. Moreover, an earlier version of the hoax included a photograph of a completely different person. Such misidentifications could have a very serious and long-lasting impact on the reputations of innocent people and even put them in danger of attack from angry people intent on revenge.

A simple rule of thumb.

Any message in any format that claims that money will be donated just for forwarding is certain to be a hoax and should not be sent on.

You can rest assured that forwarding such hoax messages will help nobody, least of all a sick or injured child. In fact, such messages may actually be harmful in that they waste the valuable time and resources of charitable or health organizations who find themselves obligated to respond to the claims in these hoaxes. As, noted above, they may also unfairly damage the reputation of innocent people or compromise their safety. If you receive such a hoax message, please do not forward it to others. And please let the sender know that the message is a hoax.

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