The New Westminster Police Department is warning the public to be wary of where their donations are going as the holiday season sets in.
“Donation fraud awareness is very important – especially around the holidays,” said Sgt. Jeff Scott. “We encourage everyone to talk with their friends and family about the signs of a person that is trying to take advantage of their generosity.”
To avoid being scammed, the NWPD offered a list of red flags to be aware of:
- The charity representative pressures you to donate immediately.
- That same individual is vague on the details and won’t give details about the charity’s mission, history, expenses etc.
- They may use a charity name similar to that of a well-known legitimate charity to trick you. For example, Wounded Warrior Foundation was the name of a fake charity, and Wounded Warrior Project is the name of a legitimate veteran’s charity.
- You might get a thank you for a donation you don’t remember making. Scammers will include in that card false contact information in the hopes you will contact them next time you donate.
- The charity representative may offer to send a courier/overnight delivery to collect your donation as quickly as possible.
- They might guarantee sweepstakes winnings to temp you into making a donation.
Scammers can show up at your front door, call you on the phone or be behind fraudulent websites, police said in a news release. Around the holidays, or when a real disaster or emergency happens, scammers will often pose as agents of legitimate well-known charities, and police said they are often trained to take advantage of emotional experiences.
When calling, scammers will often spoof their phone number to make it look like they are calling from within Canada.
Scammers will ask for credit card information, pre-loaded credit cards or impossible-to-track currencies like Bitcoin.
While some victims of scams feel embarrassed, the NWPD encourages victims to call and file a police report. The department can be reached at 604-525-5411.