BBB Warns of Potential Charity Scams as BC Hit by Massive Wildfires

July 14, 2017

Winnipeg, MB – Thousands of British Columbians have been forced from their homes due the massive wildfire activity in the province. This, of course means pressure on support groups like the Red Cross and local community centres. However, when bad things happen, scammers can and will take advantage of your good nature.

“We are always on the lookout for scams involving financial donations, even for a problem affecting other parts of Canada,” says Len Andrusiak, President and CEO of BBB of Manitoba and NW Ontario. “Crooks think nothing of going door-to-door asking for money and there have been reports of fake Red Cross canvassers in the past. This day and age we have seen plenty of fraudulent crowdfunding sites set up as well. It’s easy to do.”

BBB offers tips when it comes to giving:

  • Always give to organizations you are comfortable with and have given to in the past.
  • Check with the Canada Revenue Agency to see if it is a legitimate charitable organization.
  • Donate with a credit card or online portals such as PayPal.
  • Avoid donating cash.
  • If online, check the website url for https:// (the ‘s’ means the site is secure and information is encrypted). Look for the ‘lock’ icon in the url as well.
  • Ask a lot of questions of those asking for money or articles.
  • Do they understand the organization’s mission and vision?
  • Ask for identification and contact numbers.
  • Do they offer tax receipts?
  • Be very wary of ‘crowdfunding’ portals as ways to raise money. These are very quickly and easily set up and have been fronts for scams in the past.
  • Most charitable organizations do not solicit door to door.
  • Avoid being pressured to give money.
  • Keep your emotions in check; con artists strike when emotions are running high.
  • Delete any questionable emails and pop-ups soliciting for donations.
  • Check with your local government if they are actively collecting money or donations.

The Red Cross is responding to meet the needs of communities affected by the fires by:  

  • Providing registration services on behalf of the Province of B.C. and encouraging ALL evacuees to register with them.
  • Registering will help us know where everyone is and that they’re safe. It will also allow us to contact people directly as more information and assistance become available. It also allows us to help reunite families separated by the disaster.
  • Activating its disaster response volunteers.
  • Having additional volunteers and supplies pre-positioned across the country ready to be deployed, if needed.

For more information on what the Red Cross is doing and how you can help, go here.

Media Contacts: 

Len Andrusiak, President & CEO
Better Business Bureau of Manitoba and NW Ontario
1030 B Empress Street
Winnipeg, MB
R3G 3H4

About BBB:

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses and brands they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 165 million times for BBB Business Reviews, all available for free at BBB Serving Manitoba and NW Ontario, founded in 1930 and is one of 108 local, independent BBBs in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. In 2016, consumers turned to BBB Serving Manitoba and NW Ontario more than 375 thousand times for Business Reviews.