Bushire donation warning
CONSUMER Protection has warned people wanting to donate to bushfire victims to check the credentials of charities.
Fundraisers have also been reminded they need a licence or a licensed charity to be involved to collect money for a charitable purpose.
Consumer Protection Commissioner David Hillyard said with multiple fundraising campaigns popping up, there was a risk that the money raised might fall into the wrong hands.
“Heartless scammers see disasters such as the bushfires as an opportunity to capitalise on the community’s generosity and profit out of other people’s misfortune by creating fake charities online via social media or fake websites,” Mr Hillyard said.
“It’s doubly cruel because not only does it con the donor out of their money, it also denies the true cause much-needed funds for those impacted by the disaster.”
Mr Hillyard said donors should stick with well-known charities such as the Red Cross and Salvation Army and donate via their websites. They should not respond to random emails or texts that may be from scammers impersonating established charities and contain links to fake sites.
People or organisations in WA wanting to raise funds via social media or door-to-door are required to have a licence or to work with a licensed charity with their permission. They must show some identification and an authority from a licensed charity.
“We don’t want to dampen the enthusiasm, compassion or generosity of the community, but there needs to be protections in place especially when large amounts of money are being collected,” Mr Hillyard said.
“We have had many calls from WA people confused about where to donate and concerned about giving to the wrong charity. If in doubt you can call Consumer Protection to verify that the charity is genuine.”
Donors who believe they have lost money to a fake charity scam should call WA Scamnet for assistance on 1300 30 40 54.