NC – Charities play a vital role in our society and offer valuable services in our communities. Every day, Canadians generously support this important work, but beware—there are individuals who try to take advantage of that goodwill. As March is Fraud Prevention Month, this is a perfect opportunity to educate yourself about charity-related fraud.
You can protect yourself from charity fraud by recognizing some of the signs:
- Inappropriate pressure to give immediately
- Calls that thank you for a pledge you do not remember making
- Organizations that use names similar to popular charities
- Canvassers who are reluctant to give you details about their organization
- Requests to send cash or a money order, rather than a cheque or credit card (cash is untraceable and cannot be cancelled)
- Offers to send a courier or an overnight delivery service to collect your money
- Overly friendly canvassers who ask personal questions
- The use of free e-mail addresses that allow individuals to easily hide their identity
- A strange combination of call display numbers such as 123-456-7890 or 777-777-7778, which suggest that the caller may be attempting to hide their number
- Promises of tax benefits greater than the amount paid or cost for the donation; if it appears too good to be true, it probably is.
Here are some other ways you can protect yourself from charity fraud:
- Take a moment to research where your money is going by consulting the Canada Revenue Agency’s website at www.cra.gc.ca/charitylists.
- Never write cheques to individuals, only to the charity, and if you are paying online, always ensure the site is secure. If you see a broken key or open padlock symbol in your Internet browser, this means the transaction is not secure and could be intercepted by a third party.
- Remember, if you feel uncomfortable when being asked to donate money, you can always refuse.
- If you suspect that fraud is taking place, report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.
Protect yourself from fraud and ensure your donation ends up where it is intended. More information is available at the Canada Revenue Agency’s website at www.cra.gc.ca/donors.