Charity and fundraising scams – disaster advice

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We can help with charity and fundraising scam issues in a disaster, such as a storm, flood, bushfire or earthquake.

Donate safely - avoid charity scams

Follow these tips when donating to avoid being scammed:

Choose who you donate to

  • Donate to established relief organisations with a strong record in providing aid. Be wary of giving money to an unfamiliar charity.
  • We register legitimate fundraisers. Before donating, view our fundraising public register.

Don’t respond to an approach you didn’t ask for

  • Approach charity organisations directly to make a donation. Ring the fundraiser’s hotline if you want to donate over the phone. Never use a phone number or website address given by a person who first called, visited or emailed you.
  • Do not use links to websites provided in emails. If you want to donate online, it is safer to search for the charity’s official website using a search engine – websites set up by scammers are less likely to rank highly.
  • Never respond to an unsolicited email asking for donations - even if it claims to represent a reputable fundraiser or seems legitimate.
  • Never give out your personal, credit card or online account details unless you initiated contact and it is a trusted source. If you are still unsure, ask the fundraiser if you can donate at a local bank.

Check that a collector is legitimate

  • Only hand over money to someone wearing proper identification and always ask for a receipt. If they are not wearing identification, ask to see it. Make sure collection tins or containers are sealed and clearly labelled with the fundraiser’s logo.
  • If the charity is well-known but you are suspicious of a collector in your area, contact the charity and ask if they are aware of the collector.

Report fake fundraisers

You can report fake fundraisers to protect others and help make sure donations go to legitimate charities and causes. For more information on charity and fundraiser scams, visit Fake charities – ScamWatch.

Setting up an emergency fundraising appeal

If you want to raise money to help others, and you expect to collect more than $20,000 gross (i.e. before deducting your expenses) in a financial year, you will need to register your fundraiser with us.

This helps donors know who they are giving to, and how much of their donation will reach the beneficiaries. Registration is free.

It usually takes 28 days to complete your registration, but in some cases urgent applications may be processed in less time. You will need to give us all the information requested in the application process for us to complete your registration.

If you expect to raise less than $20,000 gross in a financial year, view exemptions from fundraising.

Even if you do not need to register, you must meet other legal obligations. For more information, view Register as a fundraiser.