[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: So, it would appear our correspondent
feels this scheme may be vulnerable to fraud. I am not so sure, and
decided to look up the URL he referenced and include it here. To be
certain, New Orleans has suffered incredibly in the past two years,
with Katrina and now the more recent tornado. I certainly agree they
need all the help they can receive, so, after reading the message
below via Associated Press (which is where the above URL links to) if
you feel inclined to help, then please do. PAT]
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2007 19:09:13 -0600
Subject: New Orleans Seeks Text Message Donations
From: BECKY BOHRER, Associated Press Writer
The cash-strapped city, which has borrowed heavily to continue
operating after Hurricane Katrina, is turning to text-messaged
donations in an effort to defray the costs of Mardi Gras, its premier
City officials are working with PayPal, a money-transfer Web site, to
raise cash via text-message and online giving. Costs of the Carnival
celebration, which concludes Tuesday, include $4 million to $5 million
for police overtime, trash pickup on parade routes and other public
The Text to Give program is to retroactively pay for the costs; it
began Feb. 8 and is set to run for a year. The initial goal is to
raise $1 million.
People who want to donate using cell phone text messages would text
"NOLA5" or "NOLA10" to the number 78787 if they wanted to donate $5 or
$10, said Jamie Patricio, a PayPal spokeswoman. If people want to
donate another sum, they would text "NOLA" to the number and be
prompted for an amount, she said.
For security, messagers are prompted to enter the PINs they used to
set up a PayPal account, Patricio said. The donation is then drawn
from users' bank accounts via PayPal and sent to a special city
Those who want to give online can go to the city's Web site at
http://www.cityofno.com and click on a link containing the "Text2Give"
logo to donate money via PayPal. The PayPal site also expects to have
a Mardi Gras link up in a few days, Patricio said.
"I think this is going to be a very strong and contagious, viral
campaign, especially among the people who have the technology and come
to New Orleans and love it here," said Ernest Collins, the city
marketing director. He added that he's not sure the city will reach
the $1 million goal.
On the Net:
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press.
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