We see it each time some major devastating event happens. Unfortunately, in hard times people come out of the woodwork to create scams and rumors for whatever reason–to trick people, take advantage of them, or … who knows? So here we are, just days after Sandy, and we’re seeing the scams and rumors circulating on social media already.
I saw someone post the following on one of their social media accounts:
ATTENTION: If you need work, FEMA needs clean up crews for South Jersey. It’s $1000 for 7 days, hotel and food included. Call 904-797-5998 pass the word.
Honestly? I was excited. I thought, “This is fantastic! People need help after Sandy and there are many people who need jobs. Win-win!”
I was just ready to hit the Share button when something stopped me. I’ve been guilty of sharing false information on my social networks before because I didn’t take time to check the information. This time I checked and was completely disappointed when I found out it was false after a quick online search.
According to The Raw Story, there are rumors like the one above and also this one circulating in relation to Hurricane Sandy:
1- 800-621-3362 FEMA, $300 food stamps for people who lost power. Pass this along to anyone you know in need. This is for all.
(This is false, by the way.)
A Congressional Campaign Manager was even forced to resign after he reportedly created a faux Twitter account just to share false information about Sandy.
There’s so much misinformation swirling around that FEMA has created a “Rumor Control” section of the site to combat falsehoods.
When sharing information like this, think before you share it with your social network. It only takes a few minutes to check out something on the organization’s website (FEMA.org, in this case), or even check out Snopes.com to see if anything has been posted. It will save you some embarrassment, but it may save others in your network from falling for a scam.
[Image courtesy of Stuart Miles]