Scammers are increasingly using fake charities or impersonating real charities to take advantage of people’s generosity and compassion. ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard says Australians are very generous, donating billions each year to thousands of different charities. Unfortunately scammers are increasingly using people’s generosity against them by setting up fake charities to fleece them.

Scammers will pose as either agents of legitimate well-known charities or create their own charity name. This can include charities that conduct medical research or support disease sufferers and their families. They may also pose as individuals needing donations for health or other reasons. Scammers may also play on your emotions by claiming to help children who are ill.

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.

People can ensure their donation is going to a legitimate charity by phoning them directly or making a donation via their website. Also You can check the charity is legitimate by searching for them on the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) website.

Read more on the ACCC Scamwatch website.