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Fake charities

Scammers impersonate genuine charities and ask for donations or contact you claiming to collect money for relief efforts after natural disasters.

How this scam works

Fake charities try to take advantage of your generosity and compassion for others in need. Scammers will steal your money by posing as a genuine charity. Not only do these scams cost you money, they also divert much needed donations away from legitimate charities and causes.

Fake charity approaches occur all year round and often take the form of a response to real disasters or emergencies, such as floods, cyclones, earthquakes and bushfires. Scammers will pose as either agents of legitimate well-known charities or create their own charity name. This can include charities that conduct medical research or support disease sufferers and their families. Scammers may also play on your emotions by claiming to help children who are ill.

Fake charities operate in a number of different ways. You may be approached on the street or at your front door by people collecting money. Scammers may also set up fake websites which look similar to those operated by real charities. Some scammers will call or email you requesting a donation.

List of Scams

  • KimberleyScamAlert
    Ensure flood donations go to official charities

    Generous Western Australians wanting to donate to victims of the Kimberley floods are being alerted to watch out for scammers who set up fake charities.

  • A black burnt tree in the middle of a bush fire, the rest of the image is completely engulfed in fire.
    1 January 2020
    Bushfires equals fake charity scams

    Seeing the recent bushfires is horrifying for most of us and we just want to help somehow. But unfortunately scammers see it as an opportunity to impersonate charities, or create fake charities. 


    fire blazing though bush with Warning Bushfire charity scam copy


  • A pile of one dollar and a pile of two dollar coins
    The Smith Family door-to-door charity scam

    The Smith Family's charity name is being used in a door-to-door fake fundraiser with scammers asking for donations for ‘KickStartKids’.

  • marathonrunners
    Boston marathon tragedy

    Scammers are circulating spam emails purporting to contain links to websites with information on the recent Boston explosions, but in fact contain links to malicious content that may infect and allow scammers remote access to your computer.

  • donation2
    Telethon phone scam

    If you receive a phone call from Telethon asking you to make a donation it’s a scam!

    The charitable trust has received reports of phone scammers pretending to be collecting money for Telethon but NO unsolicited calls are made to private residences during this annual appeal.

  • An aerial photograph of hurricane Katrina
    Hurricane Katrina

    Days before Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast of the U.S., fraudsters began registering Katrina-related websites hoping to profit from an anticipated outpouring of charitable donations for storm victims.

  • A black burnt tree in the middle of a bush fire, the rest of the image is completely engulfed in fire.
    Natural disasters

    Hearing about bushfires, floods, cyclones or earthquakes makes most of us want to give but for scammers it’s an opportunity to take.

    A black burnt tree in the middle of a bush fire, the rest of the image is completely engulfed in fire.

  • Hand holding brown paper parcel, with the words disaster relief written on it in front of a globe.
    Ugandan "plea for help" scam

    Western Australians are again being targeted by what must be one of the most heinous scams to come out of Africa. The Ugandan-based scam attempts to swindle money in the guise of assisting destitute orphans or sick children

  • Zimbabwe National flag
    Zimbabwe appeal

    It hasn’t taken long for scammers to latch on to the latest tragedy as a hook to con people out of their money.


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