How can I donate wisely and avoid fraud?

  • Confirm that the organization is a Canadian registered charity or a qualified donee. If you would like an official donation receipt, remember that donations have to be made to Canadian registered charities or other qualified donees in order to claim a tax credit. To confirm that an organization is a Canadian registered charity, go to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Charities Listings.

  • Learn about the charity. Start by visiting the charity's website to learn about its activities and how it's managed. You can also review its financial information and activities by looking at its Registered Charity Information Return on the Charities Listings. One of the best ways to learn about a charity is to volunteer.

  • Beware of donation schemes that promise you returns greater than your donation. The CRA strongly advises that you not participate in donation schemes or illegal tax filings.

  • Take action. Write cheques payable to the charity, not an individual, or make sure that your online payments are secure.

  • Refuse to donate if there is inappropriate pressure to give immediately, or if there are signs of fraud.

Put a stop to fraud!

  • Learn to recognize the signs of fraudulent activities:
    • inappropriate pressure to give immediately;
    • calls that thank you for a pledge you don't remember making;
    • organizations that use names similar to popular charities;
    • canvassers who are reluctant to give you details about their organization;
    • requests to send cash or a money order, rather than a cheque or credit card (cash is untraceable and can't be cancelled);
    • offers to send a courier or an overnight delivery service to collect your money;
    • overly-friendly canvassers who ask personal questions;
    • the use of free e-mail addresses that allow individuals to easily hide their identity; and
    • a strange combination of call display numbers such as 123-456-7890 or 777-777-7778, which suggest that the caller may be attempting to hide their number.
  • Report suspected fraud to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (formerly known as PhoneBusters), at 1-888-495-8501

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