In the wake of the earthquake disaster in Türkiye and Syria, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission advises donors to give generously to legitimate charities but to beware of scam appeals.

ACNC Commissioner Sue Woodward AM said the scale of destruction and enormity of loss is overwhelming and Australians want to help. However, she said it is important to check the ACNC Charity Register to ensure you are giving to a registered charity.

“Our hearts go out to the people whose lives have been devastated by this disaster. To those who have lost loved ones or are still waiting to hear. There will be long term support needed. I know Australians are very generous and they turn to charities to provide help at times like these,” Ms Woodward said.

“But Australians, sadly, also lose hundreds of thousands of dollars to fake charity scams each year, we don’t know the exact amount. It is likely to be higher than those reported in official scam reports as these are just the tip of the iceberg.

“We strongly advise donors to look for established, registered charities running verified appeals. Before giving to someone that claims to be from a charity, take a moment to check the ACNC’s Charity Register. In a matter of seconds, you can verify that an organisation is a registered charity and have confidence that your money will go where you intend it to go.”

“The ACNC Register shows key details such as who benefits from the charity’s work, where it operates, who is running it and whether it is meeting its financial reporting obligations. These details help demonstrate the charity is accountable and transparent about its operations.

“Many people will be getting prompts to donate to appeals in their social media feeds and in emails. We strongly recommend that rather than clicking on a link it is better to visit a charity’s website and donate following the processes shown there,” Ms Woodward said.

Before you make a donation the ACNC recommends you:

  • Look for established, registered charities running verified appeals.
  • Check the Charity Register to see details about a charity’s main work.
  • Don’t click on links in unsolicited emails and social media posts which may take you to a fake, scam website. Find the charity’s website in a search engine or on the Charity Register.
  • Don’t give your credit card and bank account details on social media and be cautious if you do so online.
  • If you get a call claiming to be from a charity, say you’ll call back. Search the Charity Register and call back on the number shown there.
  • Always ask for identification from collectors at a shopping centre, on the street or at your front door.