Clothing Collection Scam

This morning, through my letter box, I received a leaflet asking me for donations of unwanted clothes to support children in Africa. This is a well-known scam that has been operating under various guises in Britain and Ireland (and undoubtedly other countries) for a while now. The internet is full of articles detailing this despicable crime, here are just three: Consumer rights, Hounslow Council, and a blog site in Ireland.

I have reproduced the contents of the leaflet below. How do I know for certain that it is a scam?

  1. The only form of identification is a mobile number. What charity doesn’t have a legitimate name or office? I dialled the number at the bottom – needless to say, it is an invalid/permanently engaged number.
  2. The statistics are wrong. It claims that “over 3 million African children die every year from preventable diseases”. Sadly – very sadly – the figure is much higher, at over 5 million according the WHO. Any decent charity would get its basic figures correct.
  3. There is no legitimate, reputable Third World charity (or development NGO, or humanitarian organisation, as they prefer to be known) in Ireland that collects clothes door-to-door.  
  4. Legitimate charities are obliged to display their registration details: e.g.: Concern Worldwide, a company limited by guarantee and exempted from using the word “limited”, Reg. No. 39647, Reg. Charity No. CHY 5745, Registered in Ireland, Registered address is 52-55 Lower Camden Street, Dublin 2

I don’t have to even begin to explain why this scam is beneath contempt.

I rang my local Garda station in Kilmainham to report the leaflet and spoke to a very personable and helpful Guard. He claimed – and I have no reason to doubt him – that as long as they don’t explicitly make a false claim in the leaflet, then there is little that they can do. And how can they prove that the profits are not being collected to support African children?

He also denied that it was a purely Eastern European phenonemon (he politely said that we have our own, home-grown ones). Again, I don’t doubt him on that one. He said the only thing they would do, incredibly, is if I rang them when the collection was happening, then they would pop up and try and intercept them. But he said that if there was no specific crime being committed, then they were probably only going to issue verbal warnings to local residents (“public awareness”, he called it).

My next step will be to write to my local TDs, requesting that something be done about these scams and specific legislation written to protect people from them.

Lastly, and most importantly, I urge anybody who does want to contribute to African children’s health and welfare, to do so through one of Ireland’s main humanitarian organisations: Concern Worldwide, Trócaire, or Goal.

AFRICAN CHILDREN IN NEED

We urgently need your help to support children!
over 3 million African children die every year from preventable diseases
 

A CHILD DIES EVERY 30 SECONDS
PLEASE HELP SAVE A LIFE TODAY
 

We need your

UNWANTED MEN’S, WOMEN’S AND CHILDREN’S CLOTHES, BED LINEN, CURTAINS, BLANKETS, SHOES IN PAIRS IN GOOD CONDITION
We are not allowed to accept cash donations
We will be collecting in your area on FRIDAY from 8.00 a.m.
Authorised Collector – 0871 700 057

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15 Comments

  1. David Levine said,

    August 3, 2007 at 5:03 am

    Nice articulation of “Think globally, act locally” (a popular bumper sticker among USA liberals) Tony D. But then you kinda ranted. It’s OK, it sounds like your heart is in the right place, and we are TOTALLY saturated with please take pity on the victims of the moment in our crisis-infused media hyped mega reality.

    If only we could do as you suggest by showing “charity to those close to them or near them” then it would be a wonderful world instead of the bleak, destructive spiral now sucking us in.

    Alas, we are programmed by advertising to desire that which we cannot have. And this just makes us angry. So we destroy what we cannot possess. If we cannot own the universe, then NOBODY can. It cannot end unless we stop desiring what we cannot have.

  2. shazgood said,

    August 3, 2007 at 11:03 am

    Tony D, I have to delete your comments because I don’t want to be associated with your opinions. You are entitled to them, and I know they were genuine. But I do object to them strongly and don’t want them on my blog. Sorry if you feel bad about this, but I have deleted many other comments from other posters because I didn’t like their opinions.

    Is this censorship? Yes!
    I am the dictator of this blog site and that’s just the way it is. Open your own blog and put your carefully thought through opinions there if you’d like, and I’ll certainly drop by and have a read. But not on my blog please.

  3. Tony D said,

    August 3, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    That is about as lame as it gets and speaks volumes for your character- why hide behind some nonsense about being “associated with your opinions”

    That is bo the cowardly and dishonest coz it simply wouldnt be true!

    Hitler was a bad man! [cant say that now can I – for the reason you give!]

    Well as you say you have every right to do as you wish on your blog.So yes thats more like it and at least honest. Which amounts to saying if you dont like what people write and think you wont alow it!

    Well as you say that your perogative. You lose by this not me!

    Also it only re-affirms my own views and you clearly dont fee secure enough in your own views to allow alternative opinions which challenge the PC tyranny which you are a good example of.

    I said nothing hateful or particularly shocking. In fact I have heard many people express such similar opinions and more often than not I have also witnessed the PC tyranny that follws which rushes into to action to insult and abuse those who express an honest opion.

    The basic point I was making was that yes charity should begin at home and that people should be nice and kind to each other fullstop!

    Promote that and the values within it and yes the world will be better off.

    I also object and find deeply offensive the charity industry and can defend my reasons easily.

    I standby all that I said and I have heard nothing that has persuaded me of even being in error with regard to my views – only the opposite by your actions.

    Now had I said something like: I couldnt give a crap about Africa – but then added something like; they can all go to hell or some other such comment then I could understand the gagging by you. I made a point of saying I wish Africa and african people well. Genuinely hope they do great- I wish them only good things. i just dont want to be lectured to about how a contintent that is ravaged by aids and all manner of ills has anything to do with me?

    More so given that the population of the place just keeps going up and up despite all the calamities.

    yes its tragic that people die and that there is hunger in the world etc etc Its a bloody disgrace really but eh in my neck of the woods this is not the case! And i will do my damdest to make sure it never would. Again as I said- be kind and nice to those around you and those youi come into contact with. Just dont give up the day job while your at it.

    But of course I assume you cant bear the idea that someone [and there are a great many SILENT people of this view] who simply also add that they dont want people coming here on mass from that contintent as they have been doing thus far.

    Come here and have a great holiday but just dont forget to go back afterwards? I encountered such a view alot in California which I never objected to and understood when I was there. It stems from having too many immigrants.

    I MUST NOTE THE PROBLEM IS NOT IMMIGRANTS- THE PROBLEM IS NUMBERS! Both for California and Ireland

    Is that such a bad view to hold? No, but you project a mailce onto it and so twist it around so it is so much easier to suggest it is somehow a bad view instead of a perfectly reasonable and natural view- sentiment. it just that the klanguage of it seems harsh and even crude but then so is life!

    I can see you hit the delete button as if your life depended on it!

    Your right we dont need for people to exchange views we just need to hear the ones we like and think the way you do perhaps?

  4. Tony D said,

    August 3, 2007 at 1:03 pm

    Well if you are so worried about people expressing views then you could just switch off the right to post for people and then it would be all just your blog.

    However as it is open to people like me to respond i can and will. You can delete me as you wish or even ban me as you please. Thats your choice and you dont even need to tell me that publicly here as you have done. I am not owed that as of any right but i do appreciate the courtesy of it.

    Be a bit dull if we all agreed about everything all the time.

    BTW what did you do with ther green bag that came with the scam charity thingy

  5. Tony D said,

    August 3, 2007 at 1:07 pm

    Honestly you really need to go back and look at

    The Life Of Brian

    and

    MP

    The Meaning Of Life

  6. shazgood said,

    August 3, 2007 at 1:37 pm

    Tony D, You’re entitled to your opinion. I have never stopped you before posting to the site, because I have enjoyed your comments in general, and so on. I did want to make sure you knew why I had deleted it. It is nothing personal, but just – I don’t want anything associated with negativity about charities or Africa on my blog. Your other comment was just out of line, in my honest opinion. And I didn’t want it on my blog. But I didn’t want to stop you reading it or contributing to it. Hence, this time, I am leaving your next comment on. You repeat some of the stuff from the first posting, so maybe people can get a sense of what you said there.

    Feel free to say anything else you want, but please lay off the charity business while on my blog. Even with all its obvious flaws, the total effect (IMHO) is positive. I know – I work for one!

    I do believe in the general thrust of what we try to do. There are many, many complex issues in the whole development debate – about colonianism and its aftermath, economics, education, a dependency-culture, waste, poverty, Aids, greed, and so on. Books have been written about it, and yes, some seriously debate the question of whether the entire enterprise of development aid (charity) is worthwhile or just counterproductive.

    And why bring up immigration? Who mentioned immigration?

    As for me being PC – yes, drat, I am! I am a self-confessed PC, liberal, wishy-washy, do-gooder. If that offends, sorry! Blame it on my Trinity education!

    As for The Life Of Brian and Monty Python – eh? I love those films. What has it got to do with this debate? Please explain. Is it that you think I don’t have a sense of humour? I dare say I have my dull moments, but I like to think I have some fun in me. Some would say too much silly fun (look at my posting about Muff for example!).

    Lastly, why don’t you set up your own blog? You seem to have lots to say about current events (and no irony or sarcasm intended). I think you’d benefit from having your own forum on which to write your own stuff, without annoying people like me censoring your comments! I’d like to read it, post some comments, and see your reaction 🙂

  7. Tony D said,

    August 3, 2007 at 4:10 pm

    Well I tend to see the funny side in everything AND I MEAN EVERYTHING so the reference to the MP stuff is that when you listen and see some of their stuff you can imagine how we all can get uptight with dogma and so on.

    It is hilarious that I was being so critical of what I consider to be the charity industry while being clueless to your own involvement!

    I mean I have a great knackof saying the most annoying thing to possibly the wrong person at the wrong time, but of course I am not actually attacking you [well not meaning to anyway] from what I gather you are stand up guy and am sorry if -well ok when- my tone was a bit OTT and sharp and agressive etc etc. Clearly you are well meaning and genuine. as for being a pinko liberal doo gooder? Well i do so hate these tags but Id think of myself as one of those too on many things. Anyway the worl would be lost without them. Where I part company is when I se the bandwagon effect and extremes.

    I wont go into to detail here but an example might when I hear people make perfectly valid complaints about the way ireland has gone in the last 15- years. Often you see people pounce to say how bad things were etc etc yet the point is that is jumping from one extreme to another. Or like people might say how Ireland was such a theocracy in the 50s say when comparing with the islamofacism we face today. There is no real comparison with the awful as was 50s Ireland with the clear and present dangers of islam and its fringe elements, or more particualrly the Islamic Republic of Iran. And people compare that with the Bush regime as if they were on a par [as much as i despise the bush regime there is no comparison which is the one closer to freedom and democracy values. and that allows for bush being one of the worst examples possible of a rougue western state.

    Ok I have gone of the point again! But anyway

    As someone said I do rant a bit so I accpet that is a valid thing to say about my posts. My language/tine can indeed be intemperate but then I find that it is good to smoke out the issues and get thing heated enough for it to be thought provoking- Its up to the responder torise above the bluster and expose any flaws in the arguments.

    As regards immigration well it is related tangentally in that mentioned was

    “Eastern European phenonemon” and also the idea that helping africa ties in woth the fact that many africans are coming here on the basis of seeking asylum [an utterly bogus thing to me- ill just say “the dublin convention” and leave it at that] while in any event the percentage of ppl from africa as a population in ireland has gone upby a factpor of hundreds of percent in a very short period of time.

    The colonization thing and such related guilt obssesed notions that are so popular these days just doesnt ring true for me at all and I admit I get angry when having this rammmed down my throat in the genral media all the time.

    The problem I have with this is what I had a guy say to me one time when I wouldhave been far closer tou your views on such matters.

    He asked me a simple question- what about the austrailian aborginal people? I said yeah like what about them?

    Well for many thousands upon thousands of years thye were all alone in oz wihtout any one to bother them yet what had they accoomplished by way of civilization compared with the “west” or other main powers or systems in the world?

    Its hard to see it such terms but ultimately I have no answer? and the same goes for Africa in temrs of whoo or what is to blame. why does it have to be a blame game even?

    I wont go on further as I will only be a bore but I dont have a blog coz I dont think id be any good at it. You do a good blog that I like to come back to from time to time but I dont think I could or would keep it up.

    My opinions are fluid and open to reason but its not about being right or wrong sometimes its just a question of disaggreeing about how we get to the same final destination.

    There are so many things that really are sick in the world-like for example the distribution of money and resources etc.

    And human greed [excessive-greed itself is fine when it has its limits] has and continues to be the driving force of so much in todays world

  8. Susan said,

    August 3, 2007 at 4:23 pm

    Beg pardon Sir?

  9. shazgood said,

    August 3, 2007 at 4:24 pm

    Tony D, that’s a grand comment, it is reasonable enough. Maybe I was hasty in deleting your comment earlier, but I am fearful (even paranoid?) about this blog ever becoming the target of some of the nut jobs that roam the internet with their bile. (I don’t refer to you by the way). I had one such person adding a comment to my Moan posting (which was not a serious posting, just letting off steam) and he started in with the “Hitler didn’t go far enough” scenarios. On and on he went, piling on the simplistic and racist and frightening stuff. It wasn’t going to get onto my blog!
    Blogging is easy, it is just a forum for me to say some things that I might otherwise talk about down the pub. Not that I’d bore anybody with chess down the pub, but you know what i mean! Anyway, it is all a bit of a diversion from the real world…

  10. Tony D said,

    August 3, 2007 at 5:25 pm

    Yeah I know what you mean.

    It is funny because there is some “law” like “moores law” for computing power, which it mentions something about every forumn or BB being the object of “hitler” comments at some stage or other, like it is inevitable that the nut jobs come out of the woodwork and it usually involves good auld Adolf the clown.

    I personally find him to be one of the funniest men to have ever lived! If it were not for all the bad stuff he done too he would just be a joke. I usually have great fun at his expense when the nutters start on about him and his gang.

    For a comedian the material must be bottomless, he was such a ridiculus character it is truly astounding that anyone ever took him seriously. Sadly the german people let us all down in the late 20s and 30s but they have made amends and hitler would turn in his grave if he saw what became of his “fatherland”

    One of the most progressive and successful nations in the world now- and with millions of immigrants too! Which is the nce part of it all coz for the most part it has worked very well i think? And then there is the green movement!

    Which while I may not agree with on many or even most thing they are a great moral force and voice to have around.

    Blogs are curious things alright. I think we all like to throw out our few pence worth. While the nutters just vent

    “but I am fearful (even paranoid?) about this blog ever becoming the target of some of the nut jobs that roam the internet with their bile.”

    I FECKIN LOVE THAT PHRASE! CLASIC STUFF COZ IT SO TRUE

    “he started in with the “Hitler didn’t go far enough” scenarios. On and on he went”

    STOP UR KILLING ME! MY STOMACH HURTS- CAN BELIEVE SOMEONE COULD USE A LINE LIKE THAT IN THE YEAR 2007!

    DIDNT GO FAR ENOUGH?

    OH JASUS

    STOP

    I CANT TAKE IT!

    WHAT DID HE WANT

    ATOMIC MELTDOWN AND WORLD DESTRUCTION!

    yeah he didnt go far enough alright! and were lucky to be able to tale the tale because of that fact

  11. David said,

    August 4, 2007 at 1:58 am

    Wow people. Way to blog! It’s a big, wide, wonderfully fucked up world we live in, ain’t it?

    I meant to ask in my first comment, do these people actually show up at the appointed time to pick up the used clothes?

    And the Life of Brian reference, Tony D. you still haven’t answered. Let me go out on a limb here. Are you identifying with the shameless, acid humour as applied to religion? All targets are OK for comedy? Sarah Silverman and her lovely virgina? I bet that woman needs bodyguards. She’s right on the edge. Comedy and tragedy are close companions, we all know that. And the cops and criminals- isn’t it a fine line between the people that want to make trouble and the people that want to be there when the trouble is made so that they can put a stop to it?

    So, I’m thinking of the line in Life of Brian where (Graham Chapman) yells at the throng in pursuit- “FUCK OFF!!”. They say, “But HOW shall we fuck off, master?” Now THAT is comedy. Hitler was NOT funny. IMHO.

  12. shazgood said,

    August 4, 2007 at 11:33 am

    There is a time for humour and a time for seriousness. It is a fine line sometimes – other times, wow, stay clear. I mean, Hitler is “comical” yes, in a trivial sense, with the funny moustache and the funny walk (Monty Python again!). But, come on, overall, on a score of 1 to 10, he ranks as a 10 on the serious scale. We cannot casually laugh off millions of dead people. Regardless of whether you find him laughable or not, he was a very serious problem to all of Europe only 65 years ago…then again, Mel Brookes has made a living out of parodying Hitler, so he managed to find humour there.

    My favourite line in Life Of Brian is when he asks:
    Brian What will they do to me?
    Prisoner Oh, you’ll probably get away with crucifixion.
    Brian Crucifixion??!!!!!
    Prisoner Yeah. First offence.
    Brian Get away with crucifixion? It’s…
    Prisoner Best thing the Romans ever did for us.
    Brian WHAT?!!!
    Prisoner Oh yeah. If we didn’t have crucifixion, this country’d be in a right
    bloody mess!
    Brian Guard!
    Prisoner Nail ’em up, I say!
    Brian Guard!
    Prisoner Nail some sense into them!

    They had nut jobs in biblical times too!

  13. Tony D said,

    August 4, 2007 at 3:07 pm

    My favorite is perhaps the line about what did the romans ever do for us….

    And then there is the one about the gus tight to have a baby!

    As for Hitler and comedy – well I think in terms of both Mel Brooks and Chaplins treatment of him. Plus lets not forget the original film The Producers
    and that whole ” Sringtime For Hitler” It was one of my favorites!

    Of course nobody wishes to say the things he caused to happen are funny at all. But he could and woud have been stopped very early on if more people saw how funny he was [funny in the sense of being so stupid and like a cartoon figure] humor can defeat anyone be it sacrsam or whatever form it might take.

    Id even go so far as to say that if the German people had more of a sense of humour and a few fellas had stood up at one of the meetings and just said something like JASUS adolf, your a gas man, now would ever stop talking shite! He woukld never have got any momemtum and be the laughing stock he always should have been.

    I mean can you imagine a nut job telling the irish people they are the master race! LOL and that Ireland will take over the world!

    Ireland will be the next super power alright! Just re-watch that movie “The Mouse That Roared” its another classic!

    How the Duchy of Grand Fenwick Waged War on the U.S. – and Won

    If they can do it why can we!

    Detain the US army in Shannon!

  14. David Levine said,

    August 6, 2007 at 2:19 am

    Tony D. are you hinting that the next Hitler-type character will be from the USA? Not that I want to start you on another enthusiastic rant … I really just want to know if I’m reading something into your last comment, or if you intended it. I’m good either way quite frankly. Thanks for sharing your opinions.

    I think that Hitler’s seeming comical aspect is only a result of many decades passing since he walked the earth and brought forth so much evil. Charlie Chaplin tried to turn him into a figure of fun in the actual moment, but even then it was transparent propaganda. Such horror is just not funny because of its reality. But a tyrannical buffoon is a ready clown to be sure. We have one running our country right now. Shite, that’s not making me laugh either.

  15. Tony D said,

    August 6, 2007 at 5:07 pm

    Nah I was thining along those lines at all.

    Now that you mention Bush and the likely hood of an Amercian facistlike regime. Well the USA is the most regulated country in human history. The Nazis would have been in awe. Freedom, and notions of, hang by a thread there.

    Paradoxially if the islamofacist do not fade away and become irrelevant and the opposite happens and they do more damage to the USA directly then there is every chance that there will be some sort of sea change for the worse in the culture and society, To such an extent that you would see some sort of right wing extreme take full control of the country and the country goin the direction of a right wing junta.

    If and when that happens the christian right will be at the forefront, civil liberties will be a memory and the isalmic world will be wiped out completely.

    Nukes will be used and death and destruction on a scale unimgainable will be the order of the day. The date for such things to occur will be sometime between or around 2020 and 2040-2060

    The west will have become very like totalitarian and the muslim world as we know it will be a wasteland. The west will be in a pretty horrig state in terms of its progress as a civilization but the islamic world will be virually non exsistent such will be the destruction it suffers at the hands of an angry and out of control west that has morphed into an aggressive and militaristic block.

    Islamofacists seem to be clueless of the possible long term implications of their desire to destroy the west. In provoking and creating such a monster they wil be wiped off the planet in an age when the world order will have been transformed beyond and comprehension we have now.

    Sound crazy or far fetched? Well lets compare the world in 1907 and 1945-1963

    Then again just look back 20 years! and compare today.

    Amercia will be a superpower for a very long time to come [if it doesnt implode first] Bush is a boy scout by comparison with what is possible should the USA be sucked further into a spiral of attacks on its homeland and engaged in a fullscale war with the muslim world.

    Ill throw a simple example of a possible scenario.

    Saudi Arabia falls as a regime and comes in the hhands of hardline taliban types [some say it already is] they start to mess with the oli ans interests of the west, being lets say more like iran and ever bit as beligerent and aggreisve

    Posible outcome? The USA and the west undergoes mirror like changes and does whatever it takes to secure its own interest in the area.namely secure the oil.
    The place will become a nightmare in which current Iraq is made to look like a dinner party. The west will kill and destoy as many and as much as is required to achieve its own ends.

    Morality wont get a look in!


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