An e-mail received by one of the Journal staff Tuesday, March 15, seemed to come from the Salvation Army and asked for donations to help Japan with emergency earthquake and tsunami relief. Upon checking its legitimacy with local Salvation Army representative Ed Paulson, he confirmed the message is a scam.
It comes from the "Salvation Army National Corp." in Alton, Hampshire, UK and explains the mission and programs of the Salvation Army. It then describes the disastrous events in Japan and asks:
"We humbly want to bring to your notice and call for your immense support to massive 8.9/9.0 magnitude earthquake...We humbly hope for your support and strongly believe you can save a life."
The e-mail contains blanks within it for potential donors to complete, which ask for basic information plus a minimum $100 donation. Paulson agreed the minimum amount is suspect, as that is not a practice of the Salvation Army.
Though the real Salvation Army is a non-profit organization, the contact e-mail for donations is firstname.lastname@example.org -- a "dot com," not a "dot org" as any non-profit organization should have.
The message also claims that donors can designate their funds to a specific fund or purpose, as well as make a memorial gift. At the bottom, the message includes in the signature line the correct Web site address for the real Salvation Army.
Should people want to donate online to the Salvation Army, do it via the Web site: