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Charity scams

Be aware that there are people who try to use natural disasters for their own gain. Fake charities and fundraisers have taken advantage of public generosity after past disasters.

If you are planning to donate to a charity or relief appeal:

  • look for the warning signs
  • do your homework—check the charity you are donating to is legitimate.

Warning signs of a fake charity

Collectors may approach you pretending to collect for a legitimate charity. They might approach you

  • on the street
  • at your home.

Be suspicious if a collector:

  • does not have any identification or you think the identification looks forged
  • cannot or will not give you details about the charity—for example, its full name, address or phone number
  • becomes defensive when asked what the charity does and how much of the donation gets taken up by costs
  • asks for cash, will not accept a cheque or asks for a cheque to be made out to them rather than to the charity
  • does not want to provide a receipt or the receipt does not have the charity’s details on it.

Beware of:

  • illegitimate online collectors, who may
    • set up false websites or social media accounts
    • send letters or emails similar to those used by real charities
  • fake charities, which have used unsolicited telephone calls or emails to ask for donations.

Check a charity

Organisations that wish to publicly fundraise in Queensland must be:

  • registered with the Office of Fair Trading
    or
  • authorised by a registered charity to act on their behalf.

We keep an list of registered charities. You can do a free online check to make sure you are donating to a legitimate charity.

Do an online check