Victorians are being urged to be wary of fake bushfire appeals.

A Scamwatch alert has been issued through the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission relating to a number of fraudulent appeals to raise funds for people and animals affected by the bushfires.

The following information can help protect those wishing to make a donation safely to the Victorian bushfire effort, and ensure the money is going to the right place.

*             Scammers are pretending to be legitimate well-known charities, creating their own charity names and/or impersonating people negatively impacted by the bushfires.

*             Scammers are cold-calling, direct messaging and creating fake websites and pages on social media to raise funds.

*             Do not donate via fundraising pages on platforms that do not verify the legitimacy of the fundraiser or do not guarantee your money will be returned if the page is determined to be fraudulent.

*             Be careful about crowdfunding requests as these may be fake and also come from scammers. Check the terms and conditions of funding platforms and ensure you are dealing with official organisations. If you are unsure, make your donation to an established charity instead.

*             If you are donating to an established charity or not-for-profit organisation, ensure it is registered and that you are on its official website by searching the Australia Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Charity Register. https://www.acnc.gov.au/charity

What to do if you think you may have been targeted

*             If you think you have paid money to a scammer, please contact your bank immediately.

*             People can make a report on the Scamwatch website, or find more information about where to get help. https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/report-a-scam

*             The ACCC has also set up a dedicated phone number for the public to report bushfire related scams. People can call 1300 795 995 to report these scams

For more information please visit: https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/types-of-scams/fake-charities

Page last updated: 27/07/20