The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits (ACNC) is urging everyone to be generous but cautious before they donate to charity this Christmas and festive season. Acting Commissioner Deborah Jenkins said data breaches and fake charities are on the rise, making it more important than ever to do a quick check of the Charity Register before giving to someone that claims to be from a charity.

“Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been lost to fake charity scams so far this year according to data from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. And it warns that millions of Australians are more vulnerable to scams following the recent spate of large-scale data breaches,” Ms Jenkins said.

“With cost-of-living pressures and the impacts of floods in many parts of the country, we all know many people need our support right now. We are generous and we turn to charities to provide help to people who are most in need.

“Scammers prey on this season of generosity and goodwill, bombarding us by text, by email, on social media or calling us out of the blue. They pull at our heart strings asking us to dig deep, wanting a snap decision. But it is important to stop and ask yourself – who are you giving your money to? Who are you giving your data to?”

“Our Charity Register makes it simple to verify that an organisation is a registered charity. It instantly shows you details such as an organisation’s ABN, or if it is up to date with required reporting. These are basic signs that a charity follows the rules – that it is accountable and transparent,” Ms Jenkins said.

“We strongly recommend that rather than clicking on a link you were sent, it is better to go to a charity’s website. Follow the steps provided there to give as generously as you can. Australia’s 60,000 charities do extraordinary work. They deserve our support this Christmas and festive season.”