I'm not sure if this was posted on the purse blog before, did a search but couldn't find it so forgive me if it was! Also, not sure if this goes in the general forum or handbags. I figure it has something to do with handbags so I'm posting it here, but if its in the wrong section :embarasse , mods please move it accordingly :)
Profiteering ghouls have been using debit cards distributed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina - intended to buy essentials for evacuated families - in luxury-goods stores as far away as Atlanta.
"We've seen three of the cards," said a senior employee of the Louis Vuitton store at the Lenox Square Mall in affluent Buckhead, who asked not to be named. "Two I'm certain have purchased; one actually asked if she could use it in the store. This has been since Saturday."
The distinctive white cards were distributed by the Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency and carry a value of up to $2,000.
"It doesn't say anything on the card other than alcohol, tobacco and firearms cannot be purchased with it," the store employee told me. "There's nothing legally that prevents us from taking it, unfortunately. Other than morally, it's wrong."
The source told me that the two women who had made purchases with the card each bought a signature monogrammed Louis Vuitton handbag in the $800 range.
"They didn't look destitute by any stretch. You would never have said, 'They must be one of the evacuees.' … The one that I dealt with yesterday was 20. She'll be 21 next month." The source described the reaction of other store-keepers in the mall - which includes luxury brands Ferragamo, Burberry, Judith Leiber and Neiman Marcus - as "outrage."
"It doesn't say anywhere on there, but it would have to be a good amount to be shopping in here," the source said with a dark chuckle.
That makes me so sad. People out there really do need the money. Some people may have been given the money, who didn't quite need it. If that was the case, then they should turn it over to go towards people who do NEED it. Buying a bag with money issued because millions are giving to help you is just dispicable- I bet many of you gave money, which may mean you just helped pay for some other persons new LV bag while you are still trying to save money for one new bag of your own!!
My family lost our house after Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and I remember the Red Cross coming to my school when it opened back up 3 months later asking whose home was deemed "Unfit for Human Habitation". Well, mine was- but we were lucky enough to have good insurance coverage and did not need the money- plenty of other families did though. Just because it was offered, does not mean it needs to be taken! It just makes me sad because some people would do anything for some extra money for food, water, clothing, etc- not a new purse!!
I'm pretty sure when FEMA finds out (which they will, ask how the $$$ was spent) the people who abused it will have to pay the entire sum they spent wrongfully. I'm not sure about Red Cross. I heard they were giving traveler’s checks here (during the last typhoon I believe...) and they never asked how the $$$ was spent.
There have been cases in Guam, that FEMA awarded families with up to $14,000 to repair their homes. The few that went on vacation and/or purchased a car with the $$$ had to repay every cent. And those abusers can never-ever get any federal assistance for the rest of their lives.
I hope that happens Kojiko! These people don't deserve to get away with it *shake head*. I can't stand thinking that some of the money people sacrificed to make donations is going toward a bag or designer goods of all things *sigh* :evil:
I think you're also dealing with people who might have sold their cards! If you can't use them for alcohol or tobacco AND you've lived through this tragedy...what are the chances that you are desperate for a beer or a cigarette?! I would think some people would sell the cards at a discount to get the cash. That means there are two morally reprehensible people in the mix -- the seller and the buyer!
In September 2005, the Agence France Presse (AFP) news agency distributed a series of photographs showing Hurricane Katrina evacuee Latesha Vinnett and her daughter, Mychal Boykins, at the Reliant Center in Houston, Texas. Ms. Vinnett had just received one of the many $2000 debit cards issued to Katrina evacuees by the Red Cross, which she happily displayed for the camera — providing a full view of the debit card's number and expiration date. The photos were carried by a number of news outlets (such as Yahoo! News) or published as an accompaniment to news articles about Hurricane Katrina, thereby broadcasting a supposedly valid debit card number to millions of viewers.
A number of Internet-distributed rumors and spoofs have chided the participants (i.e., the cardholder, the photographer, AFP's photo editors) for all failing to realize they should have obscured at least a few numbers on the displayed card, and have posited wild spending sprees by hundreds of identity thieves that drove the debit card's balance to zero mere minutes after the photos were published. Although events may not have transpired in quite that spectacularly rapid a fashion, apparently the card number displayed was indeed used by fraudsters:
[Suzanne] Lynch [vice president for security and risk services at MasterCard International] said that as the Red Cross began issuing MasterCard debit cards to victims of Hurricane Katrina earlier this month, a newspaper photographer working on a story about the program took a picture of one recipient holding a card. The photo was quickly posted on the Internet web. "Within eight hours," Lynch said, "there was fraud on the card."
"Somebody had seen the picture — and unfortunately they hadn't blocked the number — and so somebody used the card fraudulently."