KAWARTHA LAKES-Northumberland OPP says officers have received several calls this week from concerned citizens who are experiencing “Wildfire donation” scam phone calls.
The Northumberland OPP says it wants residents to be aware of a scam where criminals are targeting good-natured people by posing as a charity to solicit “donations” over the phone. A number of wildfires have been burning across Ontario and Quebec.
The scam has several iterations; however, it generally works like this:
Scammers will take advantage of a crisis situation and prey on good-natured individuals who are looking for ways help, by posing as a charity. They will often use high-pressure tactics to convince the victim to donate.
The scam is complete when the victim provides their credit card information.
Here are some tips to help navigate this scam:
- Refuse high-pressure requests for donations.
- Registered charities don’t accept cryptocurrency as a payment method.
- A legitimate charity or fundraiser will give you information about the charity’s mission, how your donation will be used and proof that your contribution is tax deductible.
- Ask the solicitor for the registered charitable tax number of the charity to confirm the charity’s registration information with the Canada Revenue Agency or by phone at 1-800-267-2384.
The scammer may use high-pressure tactics to get you to donate immediately. It’s important to consider that the charity may not exist, or the scammer may not actually be associated with it.
To avoid charity scams, ask for information in writing before making a donation. You can also check that the charity is registered with the Canada Revenue Agency at 800-267-2384.
Also be on the lookout for false and deceptive crowdfunding ads. Police recommend donating locally. If you would like to donate to a disaster relief campaign, you can visit your local Red Cross.