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How to be certain you’re donating to a legitimate bushfire appeal

Ipswich residents are being warned to beware of fake appeals claiming to be collecting for victims of the ongoing bushfires.

Acting Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Mark Ryan said scammers were known to take advantage of public generosity during and after disasters and use a range of tactics.

“Queenslanders are known for their generosity and it’s great to see so many people donating to charities to assist those affected by bushfires,” he said.

“Sadly, there are some heartless and unscrupulous swindlers out there abusing this goodwill and seeking to line their pockets from a national tragedy.

“We’re encouraging Queenslanders to support the bushfire appeals but to do their research first.

“Organisations wanting to publicly fundraise in Queensland must be registered with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) or authorised by a registered charity to act on their behalf.

“If you think you’re being scammed, contact the OFT and report the scam.”

To check if an organisation conducting an appeal is legitimate conduct a free online check here.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has also set up a dedicated phone number for the public to report bushfire-related scams. To make a report call 1300 795 995.

For more information visit: https://www.qld.gov.au/law/fair-trading

Ways to protect yourself and ensure your donation makes it to those who need it:

  • Don’t give money to collectors who want cash only
  • Don’t give money to collectors won’t provide a receipt, or give a receipt that doesn’t display details of the appeal
  • Always check that you’re on a secure website before making a payment
  • Make sure that any website you visit to make transactions has the correct website address in the address bar, including the correct extension (such as ‘.com.au’)
  • Never click on any links or open any attached files in a spam email
  • Always keep strict privacy settings on social networking sites
  • Check crowdfunding appeals to ensure they are legitimate
  • Never give money, credit card details or online account details to anyone you don’t know and trust

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