Fraudsters Exploit Birthdays & Best Intentions

This blog recently covered a sweet story of two girls who see themselves as “birthday twins,” despite racial differences (and the fact that their birthdays are days away from one another). Recently, though, news came out of China of a fraudulent online fundraising campaign capitalizing on the idea of a “birthday twin.”

Chinese social media users were invited to type in their birthdays to find and donate to an impoverished student, born on the same day in a rural province. This sounds like a lovely way to personalize giving….

Until the 0fenbei site was accused of fraud. Screenshots published in Modern Express, a Nanjing-based newspaper, show a photo of the same girl offered up as having two different birthdays. In one result, “A Bi,” is born on Jan. 3, 2009, in southwestern China’s Yunnan province. In another, the girl’s name is “Gui Bi,” with a birthday of Nov. 24, 2009.

Another screenshot shows that “Xiao Dan,” another girl from Yunnan, was born on Feb. 29, 2009 — a date that doesn’t exist.

birthday giving

Birthday Giving Done Right

Wang Li, 0fenbei’s founder, issued a statement apologizing for inadequate scrutiny of students’ information, explaining that the publishing process was rushed. “There are six kids whose information is wrong,” he admitted.

The campaign, in which all donations were to have gone to Ai You Future Foundation, a Shenzhen-based charity that collaborates with 0fenbei, is now closed for donations. Yet, the site claims to have already raised more than 2.5 million yuan for 2,130 students.

Shenzhen’s civil affairs bureau is currently investigating the claims of suspicious identities.

Meanwhile, let’s end this blog on a positive note with one more of the now easy to find examples of people using their birthdays to show kindness to others. Just the week of writing this I came across these examples:

Happy Birthday — Give Healthy Food


birthday giving

A thoughtful reader recently sent me an image of the card pictured above. At first I only noticed the card’s front and it’s message: “I’m so happy it’s your birthday.” I was inspired by that sentiment alone. Isn’t it true that we get excited about another’s birthday? It can’t just be me and the children who are thinking about the pizza and bowling on the horizon at that friend’s party.

There is a part of each of us that is happy to see a friend or family member’s birthday come around as an excuse to show our love. Of course, there are the difficulties of being in a new relationship and wondering just how much love to show. Or not having the financial means to show our love the way we think the birthday person might fully appreciate. But those issues are secondary. Just saying “Happy Birthday” to another person helps them to feel appreciated and loved and known.

OK, but then I looked more closely at the image wondering why I was getting a picture of both the front and back of the card. That’s when this picture became even more interesting. “This card gives healthy food.” You enter a code and help change the world!

Come on! That’s just awesome.

Now, instead of grumbling about paying $4 or $5 for a card, albeit a hilarious or heartfelt one, we can pay knowing we are making a small difference while feting a friend or loved one. I love this! My one suggestion? Put a code inside the card and outside — let the person who bought the card to enter a code (outside) while inviting the recipient to do the same (inside).

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We.Org offers many ways to “make an impact” and has an online shop you can check out. Their “About Us” page states: “ME to WE creates options for consumers like you who want to make informed decisions about what you experience and buy, knowing your actions will help empower people and transform lives, making the world a better place.”

Today is a good day. I was able to write about birthdays, again, and had the chance to introduce more people to this innovative social enterprise. Every blog matters here at birthdaysarebest!