Fake charity scams

Fake charity scams try to impersonate genuine charities and ask for money donations for natural disasters and local tragedies. They are particularly prevalent immediately after a disaster when the news is dominated by the event. Australians are very generous and give freely to charities so it is particularly tragic that scammers feed on this good will. Sadly, news of charity scams discourage people from giving.

Scammers can impersonate a charity at any time. This includes localised tragedies affecting a family in your community. Scammers may pose to be agents of well-known charities or create their own fake charity name. They often appear on social media pages, hoping that people will donate without doing a little research first.

Although many fake charity approaches are done online, be aware that the approach can be face-to-face. Always check the identification of anyone who door knocks and it’s wise not to donate immediately with cash. There is usually a website that you can investigate and donate without any pressure.

Warning signs

Always be suspicious of charities that use pressure tactics to get you to donate.

Be cautious of any charity that only takes cash as a donation. Always get a receipt with the charity name and details clearly displayed.

Protect yourself

If you want to give to a charity, research which charity gets the best results on the ground and has low administrative costs.

All legitimate charities are registered on the Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission (ACNC) website. Check before donating!

Report all scams via Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s ScamWatch website.

If you have incurred a financial loss, report it to your local Police. Please also let us know about the scam here at NT Consumer Affairs on 08 8999 1999 or 1800 019 319 or at consumer@nt.gov.au so that we can warn others.

Last Updated:
18 Dec 2020

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