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Council of Better Business Bureaus ®
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Council of Better Business Bureaus
Doughnut Scam Fools Flood Donors
September 06, 2013

Posing as a charity fundraiser, a Canada scammer tricked local shoppers into purchasing doughnuts. She used the transaction to steal their credit card information and charged thousands of dollars to their accounts.

How the Scam Worked:   

Police believe that the scammer set up a booth in malls throughout the Edmonton area. There, she sold doughnuts, claiming that the money went to help victims of a recent flood. The woman only accepted credit or debit card payments for the pastries. She captured the card information and charged the accounts an additional C$900 to C$1,100.  There may be more victims of this scam. Edmonton Police are urging anyone who might have been victimized to call the  Service non-emergency line at 780-423-4567 or #377 on a mobile phone.

Tips for Donating to a Relief Effort:  

Here’s some advice from BBB Wise Giving Alliance to make sure your donations are going to help those in need, not into the pocket of a scammer:

  • Give thoughtfully. Take the time to check out the charity. Find evaluations of national charities at give.org and of local charities at bbb.org.
  • In Canada, check with the Canada Revenue Agency for a list of registered charities and links to provincial information.
  • Check with your local government. In the US, About 40 of the 50 states require charities to register with a state government agency (usually a division of the State Attorney General’s office) before they solicit for charitable gifts.
  • Ensure your charity respects victims and their families. Organizations raising funds should get permission from the families to use names and photographs of the victims. Make sure they do.
  • Learn how your money will be used. Watch out for vague appeals that don’t identify the intended use of funds.
  • Exercise caution with online/email appeals.  Never click on links to charities on unfamiliar websites, texts or emails. Use social media recommendations as a starting point, but don’t assume that your Facebook friend vetted the charity she/he posted.

For More Information

To find out more about scams, check out BBB Scam Stopper.

NOTE: Thanks to BBB of Central and Northern Alberta for alerting us to this scam.