ACCC warns of scam charity collectors following the devastating bushfires
Bushfire relief funds targeted by scammers
Australians have raised more than $100 million dollars for people and animals affected by the bushfires that have devastated so much of Australia over the last four months. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (‘ACCC’) has issued warnings that scammers are targeting charity donors.
The ACCC has received 86 reports of bushfire-related scams since September 2019, including calls made to the ACCC scams hotline.
What kinds of scams are involved?
The scams reported include:
- People impersonating relatives of victims and requesting money by text messages or phone calls;
- Calls or websites impersonating charities and crowdfunding pages impersonating charities;
- People door-knocking, saying they or loved ones are victims of the bushfires.
Checking credentials is essential
The ACCC has asked people to protect themselves when making donations by verifying the fundraisers are legitimate, particularly by checking to make sure they are a registered charity by searching the Australia Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.
If you think you have paid money to a scammer, the ACCC advises you to contact your bank immediately and to let them know so they can take action against the scammer.
The ACCC’s web page regarding these scams can be found by clicking here.
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Please note that this article has been prepared by Margaret Miller, partner of Bell Legal Group, for information purposes only. It is not legal advice nor should it be relied upon as such.