BBB Reminds Canadians to Donate Carefully

June 21, 2013

In the wake of natural disasters, fraudulent charities may appear to try and scam donations from generous Canadians. Canadians need to ensure that not only do their donations go to reputable relief organizations, but also avoid becoming a victim of fraud. Canadians being asked for donations (either over the phone, through email or in person) should follow these simple tips to decide where and how to direct their donations.

Donate to established organizations.

These organizations generally have the experience and infrastructure to help your donations reach the affected areas faster.

Avoid charities that have sprung up in response to a disaster.

Be wary of charities that spring up after a disaster. They may be looking to take advantage of your good intentions. Also, look out for imitation charities. Some phony charities use names that sound or look familiar to respected, legitimate organizations.

Find out if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the disaster area.

Unless the charity already has staff in the areas, it may be difficult to quickly get workers to the affected areas. See how the charity describes what they can do to address immediate needs.

Be cautious when giving online.

Proceed with caution when giving online especially in response to spam message and emails that claim a link to a relief organization.

Read the fine print before donating by text message.

It’s quick and easy, but be sure to read the fine print before donating. In Canada, a charity must include the details of their text campaign on their website. Research how the funds are being directed.

Be wary of claims that say 100 per cent of donations will assist relief victims.

Charities incur fundraising and administrative expenses. Even a credit card donation will involve processing fees.

Caution should be used in responding to any unsolicited requests for donations. To learn more about donating to charities, visit your BBB at


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