As new data is launched for Scams Awareness Week, ACNC Commissioner Dr Gary Johns is urging the public to beware of fake charity scams.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’ s latest Scamwatch data shows that between 1 Jan and 17 Oct this year, there were 698 reports of fake charity scams.
However, Dr Johns said the actual number is likely to be much higher, as many people don’t realise they have been scammed, and others may feel too embarrassed to officially report it.
“We know it is all too common for scammers to pose as a charity, or to claim to be collecting donations for a charity. It is best the check our Charity Register before donating,” he said.
The Scamwatch data released today found that the number of charity scam reports so far this year appears to be trending downwards compared with 2020, when 1,425 reports were received for the whole year. However, losses of $133,770 to reported scams in 2021 have already surpassed those for the whole of 2020 ($133,214).
The most commonly reported forms of contact for fake charity scams were phone (323 reports), followed by email (112 reports) and social networking/online forums (99 reports).
Most losses came from fake charity scams conducted in person ($46,495), social networking/online forums ($41,776) and internet ($22,703).
Most reports and losses to fake charity scams came from:
- New South Wales (199 reports, $39,058 in losses)
- Victoria (160 reports, $33,048 in losses) and
- Queensland (134 reports, $36,685 in losses).
The highest number of reports and losses came from people in the 35-44 age group, followed by people aged 65 and over and then those aged 25-34.
Of those reporting fake charity scams, 8.6% had a disability, 5% had English as their second language and 3.2% identified as Indigenous.