Make sure flood donations go to official charities, not scammers
- Kimberley flood donors urged to verify that charities are genuine
- Scammers may set up fake charities on social media and fundraising sites
- Advice to only donate to licensed charities and do an online check
Generous Western Australians wanting to donate to victims of the Kimberley floods are being warned to watch out for scammers who often exploit these events by setting up fake charities.
While no scam reports have yet to be received, it has been previous experience that scams emerge in the wake of these disasters to steal money from donors and the intended recipients.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Trish Blake said the scammers often use social media to lure their victims.
“There may be pop-up ads on social media sites or scam pages with evocative imagery that direct people to fake websites where donations are stolen, as well as personal and credit card information,” Ms Blake said.
“The scammers may also set up bogus Go Fund Me pages that pretend to raise money for individual victims or send out emails and texts impersonating official charities to promote these fake appeals.
“The best way not to get scammed is to only donate to licensed charities or official fundraisers like the Lord Mayor’s Distress Relief Fund to ensure the money goes to the right cause.”
Those wishing to raise funds are also reminded that collecting money for a charitable purpose such as this requires a licence, or for a licensed charity to be involved. A quick check on the Consumer Protection and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) websites will confirm if the fundraising body holds a licence or is registered.
Advice when making donations to flood appeals:
- Scammers can pretend to be legitimate well-known charities, creating their own charity names and impersonating people negatively impacted by the floods.
- Scammers in the past are cold-calling, direct messaging and creating fake websites and pages on social media to raise funds.
- Do not donate via fundraising pages on platforms that do not verify the legitimacy of the fundraiser or that do not guarantee your money will be returned if the page is determined to be fraudulent.
- Be careful about crowdfunding requests as these may be fake and also come from scammers. Check the terms and conditions of funding platforms and ensure you are dealing with official organisations. If you are unsure, make your donation to an established charity instead.
- If you are donating to an established charity or not-for-profit organisation, ensure it is licensed with Consumer Protection or registered with the ACNC.
- A list of licensed charities in WA can be found on the Consumer Protection website.
- If you think you have paid money to a scammer, contact your bank immediately and then report it to WA ScamNet.
More information about charity donations and collections is available on the Consumer Protection website and enquiries can be made by email email@example.com. Donors who believe they have lost money to a fake charity scam, should email WA ScamNet for assistance at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1300 30 40 54.
Media Contact: Alan Hynd, (08) 6552 9248 / 0429 078 791 / email@example.com
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