Fake Charitable Causes

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Charitable fraud happens when an individual or group deliberately misrepresents its fundraising intentions or solicits charitable funds for phoney causes. Throughout the year, especially during the holiday seasons, advertisements throughout the Internet, in the mail, and/or by telephone urging you to contribute financially to a good cause. As well, when disasters hit — whether natural or man-made (i.e. Hurricane Sandy, etc.) — fraudulent websites pop up, proposing that they are collecting funds for the victims. Capitalizing on the emotions over a certain event, cause, or disaster, fake organizations have been successful previously in scamming unsuspecting contributors.

But just how do you know who is legit and who isn’t? The Salvation Army and the Canadian Cancer Society — those are among the obvious worthy organizations. But what if you receive a charitable solicitation from an organization you’ve never heard of?

It is difficult to spot a fake charitable organization, as charities range in size and reach. Recently, charitable organizations have leveraged crowd funding sites to raise funds; however, most crowd funding sites have safe guards that verify non-profit organizations. Student Destinations offers the following suggestions:

  1. View their corporate website, find out if they are a registered charity.
  2. Go onto CRA and see if they are listed:
    CRA Registered Charity Search Directory
  3. Ask others if they are aware of the charitable organization.
  4. Google there company name with the word ‘scam’ beside it. Review the results.
  5. Check out the tips provided by the RCMP, they are very helpful:
    Watch Out for Charity Scams