Charity scams take advantage of people’s generosity and kindness by asking for donations to a fake charity or by impersonating a real charity.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Charity scams involve scammers collecting money by pretending to be a real charity. The scammers can approach you in many different ways—on the street, at your home, over the phone, or on the Internet. Emails and collection boxes may even be marked with the logos of genuine charities.
Often, the scammer will exploit a recent natural disaster or famine that has been in the news. Other scammers play on your emotions by pretending to be from charities that help children who are ill.
Scammers can try to pressure you to give a donation and refuse to provide details about the charity, such as their address or their contact details. In other cases, they may simply provide false information.
Not only do these scams cost people money; they also divert much needed donations away from legitimate charities and causes. All registered charities in Canada are overseen by the Canada Revenue Agency and listed in its database. You can also contact your local Better Business Bureau to see if they have any information about the organizations that interest you. If the charity is genuine and you want to make a donation, get the charity’s contact details from the phone book or a trusted website.
If you do not want to donate any money, or you are happy with how much you may have donated to charities already, simply ignore the email or letter, hang up the phone, or say no to the person at your door. You do not have to give any money at all.
REMEMBER: If you have any doubts at all about the person asking for money, do not give them any cash, credit card or bank account details.
CAUTION: Never give out your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.
THINK: If in doubt, approach an aid organization directly to make a donation or offer support.
INVESTIGATE: Search the Canada Revenue Agency database to check that the charity that has approached you is genuine.
ASK YOURSELF: How and to whom would I like to make a contribution?