‘Tis the season to be wary, says BBB

Be aware of questionable phone calls and charities

The holiday season is upon us and many legitimate organizations will be ramping up PR efforts to raise money for those in need. The spirit of giving is strong, but it also means we need to be careful about who we give money to and why, says the Better Business Bureau.

“We’ve received information lately about someone claiming to be raising money for B.C. Search and Rescue when in fact they never solicit for donations this way,” said Evan Kelly, senior communications advisor for BB.

“It’s not uncommon for scammers to use the names of legitimate organizations to take money from people. In the past, we have had many reports of local police authorities phoning people for money when they just don’t do this.”

BBB offers these tips to consider before donating money:

• For information on registered charities with the Canada Revenue Agency, please go online to www.cra-arc.gc.ca/charities/

• Ask yourself if the call could be fake and avoid giving impulsively; hang up and contact the organization directly.

• Request the caller’s charity registration number.

• Keep your emotions in check if the call relates to a local disaster.

• Give to charities you have given to in the past.

Fake Charity websites:

• Watch for bad grammar, fuzzy images, and social media links that don’t work.

• Hover your mouse over a link to determine destination.

• Make sure website has https// in the URL.

• Fake websites with the right look and feel can be set up quickly, so be the instigator and go to the website yourself and avoid any spam.

• Be wary of crowdfunding. Crooks like setting up crowding funding sites to raise money for themselves under the guise of help.

• Understand crowdfunding sites are not agencies and do not issue tax receipts.

Door to door:

• Be cautious if approached at your door. Ask plenty of questions.

• Contact organization directly to see if they have people working in your area.

• Ask for a mission statement.

• Ask for ID.

• Ask for a tax-deductible receipt.

• Avoid paying in cash. Use a credit card or cheque.

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