BBB warns of charity scams related to wildfires

Scammers can take advantage of any situation, even disasters

Thousands of British Columbians have been forced from their homes due to the massive wildfire activity in the province.

This, of course, means pressure on support groups like the Red Cross and local community centres.

However, when bad things happen, scammers can and will take advantage of your good nature.

“We are always on the lookout for scams involving financial donations,” says Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BC.

“Crooks think nothing of going door-to-door asking for money and there have been reports of fake Red Cross canvassers in the past. We have seen plenty of fraudulent crowdfunding sites set up as well. It’s easy to do. We just need to exercise caution before handing over money or credit card information.”

BBB offers tips when it comes to giving:

* Always give to organizations you are comfortable with and have given to in the past.

* Check with the Canada Revenue Agency to see if it is a legitimate charitable organization.

* Donate with a credit card or online portals such as PayPal.

* Avoid donating cash.

* Ask a lot of questions of those asking for money or articles.

* Ask for identification and contact numbers.

* Do they offer tax receipts?

* Be very wary of ‘crowdfunding’ portals as ways to raise money. These are very quickly and easily set up and have been fronts for scams in the past. They are NOT registered charities.

* Most charitable organizations do not solicit door to door.

* Keep your emotions in check; con artists strike when emotions are running high.

* Delete any questionable emails and pop-ups soliciting for donations.