Got the following in my email this morning. Click it for a bigger version:
So I did a little checking. As far as I can tell, the Red Cross doesn’t use e-gold to accept donations, but rather a service called SaferPay. The HTML in the email is pretty piss-poor compared to the ICRC website and the English in it is poorly translated at best. Plus it makes heavy use of God in its plea for your donation, which is a favorite tactic of scammers these days. It is clever on the part of the fraudsters that they are only asking for one dollar as they know a lot of folks will donate much more than that.
Now, I’ve not found anything official that debunks this email as of yet, but that could because it’s very new. It has all the classic signs of being a fraud short of a link to a fake website. Many of the images in this email are hosted at a domain that doesn’t correspond with the ICRC like you’d expect if it were a legit email. Going to the address found in the HTML code presents you with a standard welcome screen for a website that has just been set up, but no index page has been installed as of yet. “This is the future home of blah blah.com. If you’re the account administrator click here to login, etc..” Interestingly enough the scammers included an e-gold account number in the email (I’ve blurred it out) which suggests they have a legit account at e-gold—a service which purports to deal in gold transfers—that could be a way of tracking them down by the authorities.
If you want to help out the ICRC then go to their website and check into the different ways you can donate there instead of responding to an email such as this. Always be wary of emails asking you to donate money on behalf of a well-known organization and check with the group themselves to see if it’s legit.
Update: I forwarded this email to the folks at the ICRC on the off-chance that they hadn’t heard about it yet. I got a reply not too long ago which confirms this is a scam:
We thank you very much for your message and for your interest in the
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
We confirm that the ICRC never gave its permission to this company to use
its logo for such a fundrasing campaign and we have just asked the chairman
of E-Gold to remove it immediatly from their website.
We hope that the other surfers will be as aware as you of this fraudulous
With our thanks,
Private Sector Fundraising
I’ll need to send a follow-up note explaining that it doesn’t appear that the folks at e-gold were behind this or even aware it was happening, only that they were the means the scammers appeared to be using to collect the funds. If nothing else, the folks at e-gold should be able to suspend the account number listed in the email. Anyway, now we know it’s definitely a scam.