Tag Archives: hero relief

Charity scam; Herorelief.org

Curious about what our friends at Shadowhawk Flashlights do when they’re not plugging the Chinese answer to the lightsword, I tried googling their return address,

UPS storeShadowhawk Flashlights
7875 Highlands Village Place, Suite B102 #401
San Diego, CA 92129

What a coincidence!

herorelief.org (no link, because that would improve their Google score) uses this post office box as their corporate address!  What a surprise to discover that the flashlight guys are into good works.  Let’s take a closer look, with Google Image Search.

Near the top of the herorelief.org page is a picture of a kind man handing a package to a young mother who’s holding her little girl.  In Charisma News, a story about Red Cross volunteers helping Hurricane Sandy victims carries the same picture.  Come to think of it, the man is wearing a Red Cross hat.  Can’t herorelief.org even come up with their own hats?

man in orangeNext we see a man in an orange jacket offering a little girl a bowl.  The same image is used by Global Language Network, a EurActiv.com news story, and (this could be the source) a Shutterstock gallery labeled “Kosovar.”

I don’t think we can learn much more about herorelief.org this way.  All the text about disasters, veterans, etc. is really good.  But let’s look at what they say about what they’re saying.  Uh-oh, there’s a disclaimer on the bottom of the page.  <<Klaxon horn sounds>>


Copyright © Hero Relief. All information provided is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed and should be independently verified. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit.


Impressive chunk of Latin at the end–or is it?  Googling that sentence, I find:


This phrase has the appearance of an intelligent Latin idiom. Actually, it is nonsense.


So, not satisfied with refusing to say that what they say is true, Shadowhawk couldn’t resist poking us in the eye with impressive nonsense.

Chicanery

Glancing thru their Terms and Conditions, it’s obvious that they’re cribbed from a scam (the flashlight one, I’m thinking).  The quality of the lawyer’s workmanship really shows in lines like “While we want everyone to be able to enjoy Hero Relief, we may, in our sole discretion, not accept an order.”  I’ll just hit the high points, trying to be brief and amusing while scaring you into actually reading these things.

  • You can’t sue us, or join a class action that’s suing us.
  • Unless you tell us not to, we’ll keep charging the amount you donate to your credit card monthly forever. 
  • You have to wait 30 days for a refund, long enough for us to bill you again.  And we’ll only give you one refund.
  • If you reverse a credit card charge, that’s theft.
  • We’ll use your personal information and what we can suck out of your browser to spam you and beam ads at you.  And we’ll share it with other companies who will do the same.

What’s the buzz?

The usually reliable Charity Navigator has no information on them; nor does the San Diego Better Business Bureau.  In fact, nobody on the web is putting out information about herorelief.org other than themselves.

Certifications?  Audits?  Financial reports?  A list of charities that hero relief.org supports?

No buzz, other than what you’re reading right now.

Donate now …

Before you deal out your credit card for these turkeys to fondle, take a close look at the illustration.

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.26.48 PM

  • The “Monthly donation” box is pre-checked.  You can uncheck it; but if you’ve read this far, would you trust them to keep it unchecked?
  • Green Shield sounds good.  But who are they?  Again, Charity Navigator has no information about such a charity.
  • The laughing family is not who your donation will support.  They’re clip-art from dreamtime.com .

Instead

Now that we’ve saved your credit card from a scammer’s sweaty grip, here’s a suggestion; give to a real charity.  For starters, here’s Charity Navigator’s list of charities with perfect scores.


 

 If you have any experience with or information about herorelief.org please reply; thanks.


7/15/16 Update: When I linked this blog to Operation Hero Relief’s Facebook page, their admin deleted my post.  So I’ve created a “Skeptics” Facebook page to enable independent discussion of this sham charity.  Hope to see you there!


7/21/16 Update: Operation Hero Relief’s Facebook page announced an Indegogo fundraising campaign.  I registered with Indegogo to look for a way to warn off contributors.  However, the campaign was closed with no backers and no contributions.  I wrote to Indegogo support to ask whether the campaign was permanently closed, who closed it and why.  Their response; “As you can see the campaign is closed and has not raised any funds. Unfortunately, this is all the public info we can provide.”

The campaign was created by Martin Stalnecker of Jacksonville.  This could be a glimpse of who’s behind Shadowhawk.  Or he might be an unwitting assistant; Jacksonville is a long way from San Diego.  His Facebook profile says, “A Jacksonville native and Clay County resident, Martin Stalnecker believes in putting traditional values first in life, family, and community.”