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

July 10, 2017

Vancouver, BC - Thousands of British Columbians have been forced from their homes due to 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,” says Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BC. “Crooks think nothing of going door-to-door asking for money and there have been reports of fake Red Cross canvassers in the past. We have seen plenty of fraudulent crowdfunding sites set up as well. It’s easy to do. We just need to exercise caution before handing over money or credit card information."

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 the 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. They are NOT registered charities.
• 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:

Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor
BBB Serving Mainland BC
404-788 Beatty Street
Vancouver, BC
V6B 2M1

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 365 million times for BBB Business Reviews, all available for free at BBB Serving Mainland B.C., founded in 1939 and serving the Lower Mainland, Thompson-Okanagan, Northern, Central and Southern Interior BC, and the Yukon, is one of 108 local, independent BBBs across North America. In 2016, consumers turned to BBB Serving Mainland B.C. more than 2 million times for Business Reviews and processed 6,000 complaints.