Friday, April 8, 2011

Fraud Can Cost You and Legitimate Charities

Money Can be Lost and Reputations Harmed

FRAUD…Recognize it…Report it…Stop it.

ORILLIA, Ontario, April 5, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - In Canada, we have a long tradition of donating money to legitimate charities during various fund raising appeals. The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) want to remind you to be wary and careful before opening your heart and your wallet to someone representing an unfamiliar charity or special interest.

"By nature, we are generous people. Committing your hard-earned money to charity should be as safe and secure as you intend it to be in order to reach the people or causes you want to help." - Deputy Commissioner Scott Tod, OPP Investigations/Organized Crime Command.

Each year, millions of people are contacted - at the door, by mail, by phone, or by e-mail - by those who use names or causes that are very close to the names of legitimate and respected charities. By approaching you at your residence, you may feel even more urgency or pressure to donate. These people may actually be fraud artists preying on your generous nature.

"Criminals will ruthlessly use whatever means necessary to prey on your good intentions for their own selfish purposes. Awareness about the charitable organizations you want to donate to is your best defence against these scams." - Detective Inspector Bernie Murphy, OPP Anti-Rackets Branch.

Throughout the year, the OPP Anti-Rackets Branch recommends that would-be donors consider the following tips:

...If you receive a telephone call, ask for the information to be sent to you in writing. Ask how much of your gift will be used directly for the charity. Ask how much will go toward administrative costs. Legitimate charities will have no problem giving you this information.

...Never give out your personal or financial information over the phone, or at the door. You may wish to make out a cheque payable to the charity. You can mail the cheque later.

...Call the charity. Find out if they know about the appeal and if it is authorized, and what percentage of your donation they will receive. You should never feel pressured into making a donation.

...Ask if the charity is registered. Contact Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) at 1-800-267-2384. Ask CRA for the charitable tax number of the charity. Question any discrepancies.

...At the beginning of each year, decide which charities to support - send your cheques directly to their head office, and feel good about giving. If approached more directly, you can then say that you have already given, and perhaps you will consider their appeal next year when you decide on the charities to support.

If you suspect a fraud artist is at work, file a complaint by calling your local police or contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) at 1-888-495-8501 or visit online at

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