The scammer tries to convince you to give money to a fake charity, or to a real charity but they keep whatever donations they receive.
Video length: 1 minute, 47 seconds
How it works
Charity scams take advantage of people’s generosity and kindness. The scammer may contact you by telephone or by knocking on your door, speaking to you on the street, or emailing you. They may have counterfeit letters or other materials, fake collection boxes, or a fake website, all of which look realistic. Often, the scammer will play on your emotions. For example, they might pretend to be helping victims of a recent natural disaster or claim they are from a charity that helps animals or sick children.
Not only do these scams cost people money, they also divert donations away from real charities.
How to spot it
Scammers may try to make you feel guilty or pressure you to donate. They may refuse to provide details, such as the charity’s address or tax registration number. They may be unable to answer questions about how the money will be used. In other cases, they may simply provide false information.
- If you do not want to donate any money, simply ignore the email or letter, hang up the phone, or say no to the person at your door.
- If you want to give money, research the charity to ensure it is legitimate. For example, the Canada Revenue Agency has a searchable online database of all registered charities operating in Canada.
- Registered charities database (Canada Revenue Agency)
- You can also contact your local Better Business Bureau to see if they have any information about the charity you are interested in.
- Never give out personal information such as credit card or bank account numbers over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number belongs to a trusted source.
- If you want to make a donation but have doubts about the person asking for money, approach the organization directly.
- If you choose to donate, do not give cash. Write a cheque payable to the name of the charity or use a credit card so you have a record of the donation. Request a receipt and make sure it has the charity’s contact details on it.
- How to report fraud and scams in Canada
- Fort McMurray fires: Beware of fake charities and donation scams
- Happy International Day of Charity: give with confidence
- Charity and donations scams (Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre)
- Seniors Guidebook to Safety and Security (Royal Canadian Mounted Police)