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Surita Diputs Naidoo Charity Hoax

Message claims that a young hit-and-run victim in South Africa will receive money to help cover medical expenses every time the email is forwarded (Full commentary below).


Example:(Submitted, May 2007)
Subject: FW: Please Help Someone Who Will Never Repay You.

Love is the key, forward is the motion, don't be afraid to love someone.

Hi, my name is Surita Diputs Naidoo and I live in Chatsworth, South Africa. I am 8 years old and I have been in a hit and run accident with a taxi. My 14 year old brother was killed instantly, and my father later died at RK Khan's Hospital, Chatsworth.

My mother and I are now living with my grandparents.

The doctors have told me that I need corrective surgery as my face and arms were badly burned in the accident.

Fortunately, my plight was brought to the attention of a wealthy Herbal Importer in Reservoir Hills, South Africa, who, with the help of IBM, have promised to give me R2 for every person this e-mail is forwarded to.

Please send to as many people as you can and GOD bless. Remember, have a heart.

This message claims that 8-year-old Surita Diputs Naidoo of Chatsworth, South Africa will be given 2 Rand (around 28 cents) for medical expenses each time the message is sent on. According to the message, Surita was badly injured in a hit and run accident that killed her father and brother and now needs corrective surgery.

Chatsworth is a real place as is the hospital mentioned in the message. However, while Surita may be a real child and such an accident might even have occurred as described, the claim that money will be donated just for forwarding the message is totally untrue. This message is just one in a long line of similar hoaxes that claim a particular organization will donate money based on the number of times a message is forwarded. This version claims that IBM and a "wealthy Herbal Importer" are funding the campaign. Earlier hoaxes have identified AOL, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Red Cross and a host of others as the supposed contributor. All such claims are unfounded.

No company or charitable organization is ever likely to participate in such an absurd scheme. If IBM or the unnamed importer were interested in helping the child, they would do so directly via a monetary donation or perhaps the payment of medical bills. It is simply ridiculous to suggest that they would base the final amount to be donated on how many times the message was forwarded. If a company was willing to donate in the first place, there is no logical reason why it would place such a restriction on the final amount to be contributed. Some have suggested that a company might do this as a form of self-promotion. However, such a callous and self-serving limitation would reflect badly on the company and any publicity gained would be far less than positive. In this case, the "wealthy importer" is not even identified, so he would certainly not gain any benefit from the exercise.

Moreover, even in the exceptionally unlikely event that a company was foolish and inept enough to participate in such an outlandish fund-raising scheme, tracking an email that might be forwarded many thousands of times is neither feasible nor ethical. It would be virtually impossible to keep an accurate record of how much money was to be ultimately donated.

If you receive this, or any other message that claims money will be donated just for forwarding an email, then it is sure to be a hoax. Forwarding such emails helps no one and serves only to clutter inboxes.

Charity Hoaxes

Last updated: 4th May 2007
First published: 4th May 2007

Write-up by Brett M.Christensen