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ACNC urges the public to be vigilant amid data leaks and charity scams

2 min read

The national charity regulator is urging everyone to be generous but cautious before they donate to charity this Christmas and festive season.

Acting Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commissioner Deborah Jenkins shares with data breaches and fake charities are on the rise, it is important now more than ever to do a quick check of the Charity Register before giving to someone that claims to be from a charity.

“Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been lost to fake charity scams so far this year according to data from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. And it warns that millions of Australians are more vulnerable to scams following the recent spate of large-scale data breaches,” said Jenkins.

“With cost-of-living pressures and the impacts of floods in many parts of the country, we all know many people need our support right now. We are generous and we turn to charities to provide help to people who are most in need.”

Scammers prey on this season of generosity and goodwill, bombarding people by text, email and on social media or calling people out of the blue.

“They pull at our heartstrings asking us to dig deep, wanting a snap decision. But it is important to stop and ask yourself – who are you giving your money to? Who are you giving your data to?”

ACNC’s Charity Register makes it simple to verify that an organisation is a registered charity. It instantly shows you details such as an organisation’s ABN, or if it is up to date with required reporting. These are basic signs that a charity follows the rules.

“We strongly recommend that rather than clicking on a link you were sent, it is better to go to a charity’s website. Follow the steps provided there to give as generously as you can. Australia’s 60,000 charities do extraordinary work. They deserve our support this Christmas and festive season.”

Related: First Nations Foundation combats scammers targeting Indigenous Australian by releasing literacy modules on finance

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Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.


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