Donating to charity is a great way to contribute to causes you believe in and make a difference to the wider community. However, unfortunately not all people eliciting donations are who they say they are. Charity fraud is when deception is used to obtain money from people who believe they are making donations to charities. The fraudsters may claim to be representatives of a legitimate charity or may invent a fictitious charity.

The negative effect of fake charities is compounded by its dishonesty – not only do they cost the victims money, but they also deprive worthy causes of much-needed donations.


Online charity scams

Fake charity scams have seen a huge increase over the last few years as charity fundraising efforts move from in-person and collection boxes to online fundraising platforms. Donation pages can be set up in minutes and it’s easy for scammers to create a fake page to take advantage of peoples’ compassion and generosity.

Fake donation pages may appear to have been set up to pay for an individual’s medical expenses, repatriation expenses, or to help provide for a family who has lost a loved one. These pages are created without the knowledge of the people they say that they will benefit and donations don’t reach the intended recipient. These donation pages often spread quickly through social media as well-meaning people share the cause, which can mean that more people are caught up in the scam.


Fake charity collectors

Fake charity collectors may ask for money in the street, or by going door-to-door. Two ways to help identify a legitimate charity collector is what they are wearing and their knowledge of the cause they are collecting for:

  1. Genuine charity collectors should be wearing a recognisable charity shirt, jacket or bib and an identification badge with a name and a photo.
  2. They should be able to answer questions about the fundraising work - where money raised goes to, how much is taken from donations for administration purposes, and how much goes directly to help the charity's beneficiaries. If a person collecting money can’t answer these questions, they may not be legitimate.


How to avoid fake charity scams

  • Don’t donate to unfamiliar organisations if you are unsure of their legitimacy.
  • Check whether the charity is legitimate on the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits website.
  • If you would like to make a donation to a cause, but aren’t sure whether the charity collector or donation page is legitimate, go straight to the charity’s own website and make a donation there.


If you have been targeted by a scam relating to your Qudos account, visit our webpage Reporting Scams to find out who to contact.

Qudos Mutual Limited trading as Qudos Bank ABN 53 087 650 557 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence 238 305. The information in this article is of a general nature and has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on the information, consider its appropriateness to your circumstances.

We're here to help

You might also be interested in