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Consumer Affairs Victoria warns about fake bushfire fundraisers

Fake fundraisers are circulating, which are pretending to raise money for bushfire-affected communities, Consumer Affairs Victoria says.

January 19, 2013 9:00am

Consumer Affairs Victoria has warned that fake fundraisers are pretending to raise money for bushfire-affected communities.

‘‘Unfortunately some people use natural disasters such as the Tasmanian bushfires as an opportunity to scam,’’ Consumer Affairs Victoria acting director Andrew Levens said.

‘‘Please give generously — but first, make sure you are dealing with a legitimate fundraiser.’’

Mr Levens said fake fundraisers deliberately imitate legitimate charities to trick consumers.

He said they usually approach people on the street or at home. They also call or email to ask for donations, and may set up false websites or send letters similar to those used by real charities.

Mr Levens said fundraisers in Victoria must be registered with Consumer Affairs Victoria, and their registration can be checked at consumer.vic.gov.au/fundraisers

‘‘If you want to donate, give to established relief organisations and be wary of unfamiliar charities,’’ he said.

‘‘Be wary if a collector won’t give you details of the charity, gets defensive when asked about it, and insists on cash or money transfer.

‘‘Only hand over money to someone wearing proper identification and always ask for a receipt. If they’re not wearing identification, ask to see it.

‘‘If the charity is well known but you are suspicious of a collector in your area, contact the charity and ask if they are aware of the collector.’’

Mr Levens said ntsait was a good idea to donate directly to charity organisations and to avoid using contact details or website links given by a person who calls, visits or emails.

‘‘Never give out your personal, credit card or online account details unless you initiated contact and it is a trusted source, and report fake fundraisers,’’ he said.

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