The national charity regulator has warned Australians considering donating to Cyclone Pam to watch out for scammers.
Concerns have been raised with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) about scam social media accounts set up under the guise of collecting money for Cyclone Pam.
The accounts use the branding of well-known Australian charities, despite not having any association with these charities. Some of the scam accounts link to a donation app.
Commissioner Susan Pascoe AM said disasters can bring out the very best and the very worst in people.
“Australians are renowned for their generosity, donating billions of dollars to charity every year. Unfortunately there are scammers prepared to take advantage of the public’s generous nature. By giving to a registered charity, people can protect themselves and their donations,” Ms Pascoe said.
“The ACNC Charity Register provides information on almost 60 000 charities, including who the charity benefits and where the charity operates.
“We encourage anyone who wants to donate to Cyclone Pam to give to an established humanitarian charity. You can use the Charity Register to find these charities and contact them directly using the details listed on the Register,” Ms Pascoe said.
The ACNC has also received reports scammers in shopping centres and are going door-to-door asking for Cyclone Pam donations claiming to be from known Australian charities.
The public can take these steps to ensure they are confident giving to legitimate charities:
- Always ask for identification from door to door and street fundraising collectors.
- If you haven’t heard of an organisation, look them up on the Charity Register to see if they are registered.
- Do not provide your personal, credit card or online account details unless you know it is a trusted source.
- Do not open suspicious or unsolicited emails - delete them.
- If you think that there is something wrong, contact the charity directly and alert them of your concerns.