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Warning fake charity scam is growing

Source: Kenneth Release Time: 06:14:01 2018-10-26

So far in 2018, Scamwatch has received 689 reports of fake charities scams with more than $320,000 in reported losses. This compares to the whole of 2017 where reported losses were $313,563.

Scammers are increasingly using fake charities or impersonating real charities to take advantage of people’s generosity and compassion, with losses reported to the ACCC’s Scamwatch increasing steadily over the past four years.

“This is a particularly appalling scam as beyond just stealing money from unsuspecting victims, the scammers also take money meant for legitimate charities. Donations are the lifeblood that supports charities and their ability to help people in need.”

Fake charities operate in a number of different ways. Scammers may approach people on the street (for example posing as a monk, or a collector for a specific cause) or at their front door. Scammers may also set up fake websites which look similar to those operated by real charities. Some will call or email people requesting donations.

“The scammers have no shame. If they’re not creating fake charities, they will impersonate real ones like the Red Cross, RSPCA, or Rural Fire Service.”

People can ensure their donation is going to a legitimate charity by phoning them directly or making a donation via their website. They can check the charity is legitimate by first looking up their credentials on the publicly available Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) website (link is external).

“Also, 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. Legitimate charities don’t solicit donations in this way,” Ms Rickard said.

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