‘Tis the season of giving but don’t let your generosity be taken advantage of by charity scammers this Christmas.

“It is the Queenslander spirit to be there for others, to give to those who need it but sadly there are also people out there looking to make a quick buck under the guise of charity,” says Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Jarrod Bleijie. “Not only do these scams cost you money, they also divert much needed donations away from legitimate charities and causes.”

While there are always people that will take advantage of the generosity of others, there are some simple steps you can take to keep people safe and ensure real charities benefit.

“Charity scammers operate in a number of different ways so it is important to be able to identify the difference between a genuine charity and a scammer,” says Bleijie. “Generally, if you are approached on the street the scammer will not have any identification, will put pressure on you to donate and won’t give you a receipt.”

Online scams operate via fake websites which may be very close in appearance to legitimate charity sites. Always check the URL to ensure you’re at the correct web address, and when sending money make sure the URL begins with https:// as this indicates a secure site.

“I encourage all Queenslanders to continue to give this season, but make sure the charity is the real deal,” says Bleijie.

Follow these tips to avoid the Christmas Grinches!

  • Approach charity organisations directly
  • Only give out your personal, credit card or online account details when you initiate contact
  • Ask to see identification if you are approached
  • Check whether a charity or appeal has authorisation by conducting a free search on the Office of Fair Trading website at www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au - any organisation that wishes to publicly fundraise in Queensland must be registered as a charity or sanctioned community purpose organisation
  • Delete any suspicious emails
  • Contact your bank or financial institution immediately if you think you have provided your account details to a scammer

“There are a lot of great organisations out there doing a terrific job for Queenslanders doing it tough this Christmas,” says Bleijie. So make sure you’re giving to the right ones!