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Police warn of scam targeting donations to Ukraine

Victims being targeted by phone, email, social media, OPP says


The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Anti-Rackets Branch (ARB) and Serious Fraud Office Ontario (SFO), in concert with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC), are warning the public about charity scams during Fraud Prevention Month.

The CAFC has received reports of charity scams related to the situation in Ukraine. Fraudsters are contacting victims by telephone, email, online and on social media. They will impersonate reputable charities and can sound very convincing. Unfortunately, fraudsters will attempt to use a situation like the one in Ukraine to steal your money.

As a result, the CAFC would like to remind Canadians to be wary of charity scams. Charity/donation scams involve any false, deceptive, misleading or fraudulent solicitation for a donation to a charity, association, federation or religious cause. Scam artists hope to profit from people’s generosity and compassion for others in need.

Warning signs — how to protect yourself

• Refuse high-pressure requests for donations. Legitimate charities will not push you to donate with urgency.

• Ask for written information about the charity, including name, address and telephone number. A legitimate charity or fundraiser will give you information about the charity’s mission, how your donation will be used and proof that your contribution is tax deductible.

• Ask the solicitor for the registered charitable tax number of the charity. Question any discrepancies and confirm the charity’s registration information online with the Canada Revenue Agency or by phone at 1-800-267-2384.

• Charities don’t accept cryptocurrency as a payment method.

• Learn more tips and tricks for protecting yourself.

Anyone who suspects they have been the victim of cybercrime or fraud should report it to their local police and to the CAFC’s online reporting system or by phone at 1-888-495-8501. If not a victim, report it to the CAFC anyway.