Be aware of charity scams
It’s important to protect yourself from scammers who impersonate charities. The below information is from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Scamwatch website. Scamwatch helps consumers and businesses learn to recognise, avoid and report scams.
- You’ve never heard of the charity before, or it is well-known but you suspect the website, email or letter may be fake. A fake website may look almost identical to a legitimate charity site, changing only the details of where to send donations.
- The person collecting donations on behalf of the charity does not have any identification. Remember, even if they do have identification, it could be forged or meaningless.
- You are put under pressure or made to feel guilty or selfish if you don’t want to donate.
- You are asked to provide a cash donation as they don’t accept cheques. Or, they want the cheque to be made out to them rather than to the charity.
- You are not given a receipt. Or, they give you a receipt that does not have the charity’s details on it.
- Approach charity organisations directly to make a donation or offer support.
- Check the organisation’s name and look them up. Check the website address to make sure it’s the same as what you searched for.
- Legitimate charities are registered – you check an organisation’s credentials on the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) website to see if they are a genuine charity.
- Never send money or give personal information, credit card details or online account details to anyone you don’t know or trust.
- If you are approached by a street collector, ask to see their identification. If you have any doubts about who they are, do not pay.
- If you are approached in person, ask the collector for details about the charity such as its full name, address and how the proceeds will be used. If they become defensive and cannot answer your questions, close the door.
- Avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for up-front payment via money order, wire transfer, international funds transfer, pre-loaded card or electronic currency, like Bitcoin. It is rare to recover money sent this way.