Thursday, June 11, 2009

Little April Rose Scam Exposed

(click the title for the article)

I haven't posted anything about the "Little April Rose" fiasco, for a lot of reasons. If you followed her blog, you may remember that I was the person who suggested (in a comment) that a homebirth in her "situation" might be illegal, and she promptly wrote a vehement reply in my general direction. I told my sister weeks ago that I smelled a rat, but I was afraid to speak up because nay-saying, if her story had been true, would have been cruel.

When the "baby" was "born," I was hitting "refresh" along with everyone else who had followed her blog, waiting for updates. When the picture of "April" was posted - the one that turned out to be a doll - I thought it was awfully strange that a baby with not one but two facially disfiguring disorders (trisomy 13 and the holo-thing that I can't spell) would have such a perfect face. She also looked awfully chubby for a 4 pound baby. It wasn't long before the rest of the mommy-blogosphere was in an uproar. I sort of sat back and watched the whole thing unfold, rather than doing the research myself to discover Beccah's identity. But I was riveted for a couple of days as I watched the web of lies that Beccah had spun come undone.

I think there are several lessons here that we should all take away from the whole thing...

#1 - No matter how hard you try to protect your identity, it is stupid easy for anyone with half a clue how the internet works to figure out exactly who you are, where you live, what your phone number is, who lives in your house with you, how much your house is worth, and a whole bunch of other "private" information. There is no such thing as "private" anymore.

#2 - While I don't think that we bloggers should hesitate to reach out and support one another emotionally in times of need, we should really think very carefully before we support each other financially in times of need. This is not the first blog scam (while the article says that she didn't benefit financially, it goes on to say that some of the people involved gave her "hundreds" of dollars, and the ad revenue alone would've been HUGE with nearly a million hits...) for money, nor will it be the last.

While a lot of beautiful things have been done in the blogging community (like the support that Matt Logelin has received since the tragic death of his wife Liz, and the not-for-profit group he has set up in her memory), a lot of scams have been pulled just like Beccah's. We really need to be careful where we donate money and send gifts.

I wish I could think of a list of good guidelines for this, but I really can't. I think it's a red flag if a blog is too polished, as "April's Mom's" was. I think it's a warning sign if the blogger doesn't give her last name or location - but then again, I don't give my last name or location! Of course, I also don't ask for gifts. (If you want to send gifts, though, I'll accept them! Let me run right out and get a PO Box. Hahaha). It's a warning sign when people protest too much - Beccah said something directly once about people thinking that she was lying, and that it would be a pretty sick trick to pull on people (or something to that effect). If someone's always crowing about how "real" they are, it makes me think that they might not be all that real... Can anyone think of other red flags?

#3 - Honesty is the best policy. As bloggers, the only standards we're held to are our own. I can sit here all day and make up lies - about myself, about others, about politicians and public figures... It might even be fun to wait and see how long it takes the lies I make up to get on Fox News (rimshot). We bloggers really need to have a sense of journalistic integrity about the whole thing, because once you begin to lie, you have to tell another, then another, and before long you find yourself suffocating under a whole pack of lies, and then you screw up and get caught. I wonder, if she hadn't posted the picture of the doll, would she have gotten away with it?

#4 - Finally, it's really easy to forget that the internet is made up of actual people with actual feelings, lives and, often, psychiatric disorders. It's probably in everyone's best interests if we bear this in mind at all times.

So, who else was following the rise and fall of Little April Rose's Mom? You can read more about it here and here and here, and if you still want more, those links can take you to further links where you can get the whole sordid tale.


Mary Grace and Claire's Mom
Keepin' it 100% real since May, 2007


Lorri said...

Hi Mary, I have been posting about this issue and the larger issue at hand - emotional fraud online on my blog.

I have links to a couple fraud articles as well as some guidelines for Christian confrontation online on my blog which you are free to link to or copy.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who voted for Obama can't have "journalistic integrity." It's a requirement!