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:

Tiny “Birthday Twins”

birthday twins

Image source: People

Birthdays can bring people together. Here’s a sweet example highlighting this truth:

People magazine recently featured two four-year-old friends who see themselves as twin sisters because they “share a birthday.” Well, they don’t actually — they were born two days apart — but they’re four, so we’ll forgive them that (although People could have been more accurate).

Anyhow….

Zuri Copeland and Jia Sarnicola were born June 5 and June 3 respectively and have been best friends for two years since meeting in a Miami school. Apparently the two girls who hang out almost daily have started telling people they are sisters — twins to be exact.

But, when they did so in a face painting line at a birthday party, two other girls said they couldn’t be twins because they weren’t the same color.

Zuri’s older sister recalls Jia beginning to cry while Zuri stood her ground and said:

“You don’t know anything! We are twins because we have the same birthday and share the same soul!”

What a lovely idea!

Birthday Buddies

The older sister posted this anecdote to social media with a picture and the story went viral (hence People). Those liking and retweeting loved hearing about the girls’ friendship and their bond that transcends race.

Social media saw friends of all races comparing themselves to the girls and true biological twins of different skin colors sharing their experiences.

Zuri’s older sister told People she hopes the story helps people “begin to have faith in humanity” during a period of racial tension in the country. “If 4-year-olds are able to maintain healthy doting relationships despite their skin colors, then so can adults.”

Of course, adding my two cents, I believe that what brought these girls together to bond in the first place was clearly the close proximities of their birthdays. Birthdays are a bond that can’t be beat!