Sunday, July 15, 2007

Modern Robin Hood (Philanthropic Thievery)

Supporting the argument that modern reinventions are never as great as the originals were in the good ol' days, this story of modern day Robin Hoods is pretty sad....

Trent Stamp's Take: Thieves Welcome Here:

According to Information Week, nearly 20% of the donations made online to the Red Cross last month were by people using stolen credit cards. Seriously. 700 gifts out of the total of 3600 were made by criminals.

Apparently, people who steal credit cards have found that they can make small gifts to charities to test the validity of the cards they've procured illegally. If they bought items instead, they'd either have to go into a store and risk the chance of getting caught, or provide an address to go with the card, if they paid online. So, instead, they just make gifts to charities, generally in the neighborhood of $10.

This is amazing to me. I had no idea credit card theft was so rampant, or that the thieves were making charitable gifts as a way to test the cards. And while I'm no fan of theft or fraud, I do think that this is a growth industry for charities. Why should the Red Cross get all the thieves? There's money to be made here. Look for fundraising consultants nationwide to begin trying to get charities to compete for the criminals' business. "Test your stolen card here, and get a free tote bag with every gift!"