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Edmonton Police Service

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Generous to a fault

24-Mar-2015

Every year Edmontonians donate millions of dollars to charities and non-profits - money that helps people at home and abroad.

But not all of the donated money ends up where it’s supposed to.

Staff Sergeant Dan Service of the Edmonton Police Service Economic Crimes Section says, “Criminals target people’s generosity to elicit donations for fake charities.”

Whether it’s a knock on the door, an unsolicited email, fake website, or a phone call, charity scammers use any and all means to prey on a donor’s heartstrings.

“Charity scams are common during the Christmas season, or when there is a major natural disaster somewhere in the world,” Service says.

People can protect themselves from charity scams by following a few simple steps:

  1. In the case of door-to-door appeals, ask the canvasser for identification.  Call the charity to confirm whether or not they have someone in your area collecting donations.
  2. Ask for a registered charitable number.  Revenue Canada can confirm whether or not the charity is legally allowed to operate in Canada.
  3. Don’t respond to unsolicited emails or phone calls asking for donations.
  4. Be wary of charities with names that sound similar to well-known charities.
  5. Never give in to high-pressure sales tactics.  If the person at the door or on the phone won’t let you have more time to think about your donation, close the door or hang up the phone.

If you think you have been a victim of charity fraud, call the Edmonton Police Service non-emergency line at 780-423-4567 or report a crime online from our website.