Donations are a critical source of funding for many worthwhile causes and charities. Unfortunately, individuals may pretend to raise money for charity, while in fact keeping the donations. As a donor, it is important to be informed so that you can feel confident about where your money is going.
Become an Informed Donor
- Gather as much information as possible on the charity and find out how much of your donation will go to charitable activity.
- Visit the Canada Revenue Agency website for an online list of registered charities to confirm whether a charity is registered under the Income Tax Act and to access its annual information return. Only registered charities may issue official donation receipts.
- High-pressure solicitors who want you to contribute immediately. Remember that you are entitled to take as much time as you need to make your decision and to say "no" if you wish.
- Someone who contacts you to thank you for a pledge you do not remember making. These people want to lure you into believing that your previous donation made a difference, when, in fact, you never gave money to this fraudulent organization.
- Names that are similar to those of well-known charities. Scam artists will use similar wording, logos and graphics to make you believe you are giving to a well-known charitable organization.
Never give out personal information (such as your credit card number or banking information) to a person or organization you do not know.
If you have been a victim of a charitable donations fraud, contact the Canadian Anti-fraud Call Centre, which is run by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
Charities fall under provincial jurisdiction. Contact your provincial Consumer Affairs office for more information.