As the holiday season approaches, a time when people are typically feeling more generous, you may find that you're getting more requests to donate to charities. And while there are many legitimate companies and charities calling you for fundraising purposes, it's a good idea to take some precautions and be informed.
Nov. 1-7, 2012 is Crime Prevention Week and the B.C. government is teaming up with Consumer Protection BC to help keep families and communities safe from crime.
The following tips can help protect you from telephone charitable scams:
- Ask for the information to be sent to you in writing before you commit to a donation.
- Ask the telemarketer to call you back and, in the meantime, call the charity yourself to confirm they are actually running a fundraising campaign.
You can also visit the Canadian Revenue Agency website at www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/lstngs/menu-eng.html to ensure that a charity is registered.
- Ask them to give you the charitable tax number of the charity.
- Remember that if you are told you have won a prize, you should never have to pay money to receive the prize.
If you do decide to make a donation over the phone, always keep a record of the date, the name, address and phone number of the person and charity you spoke to, the amount you donated and the method of payment. Always be cautious around giving your credit card information over the phone.
Signs of a scam include high pressure tactics or threatening telemarketers who want you to make a donation immediately. If you believe you have been scammed, you can file a complaint with your local police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or at their website: www.phonebusters.com/english/common_contactus.html
Consumer Protection BC licenses and regulates certain telemarketers in the province, including companies calling on behalf of charities if they are taking payment over the phone. For more information around telemarketing in B.C. or to find out if the telemarketer calling you on behalf of a charity is licensed, please visit: www.telemarketingrightsbc.ca
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Justice
Consumer Protection BC - Media Contact