Businesses and residents urged to be wary of Christmas scams

SOUTHERN Downs individuals and businesses are being warned to make sure their Christmas charity goes to those in need, not scammers.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Jarrod Bleijie said scammers were known to exploit Christmas kindness.

"Queenslanders are renowned for looking after each other but scammers sadly have a history of taking advantage of their goodwill at Christmas," Mr Bleijie said.

"Vulnerable Queenslanders are the biggest victims of this shameful fraud because they miss out on vital donations and assistance from real charities, so it pays to be careful.

"Charity scammers might approach you in numerous ways so learning how to recognise the difference between a genuine charity and a scam is important.

"Scammers will pose as collectors from legitimate charities or even create their own fake charity.

"If you are approached on the street, ask for more details about the charity, identification from the collector and an official receipt.

"Most scammers won't be able to provide these details and they may try to pressure you by making you feel guilty or selfish.

"Online charity scammers also usually operate a fake website which can look like a legitimate charity site and insist on payment by money transfer."

If you are planning on donating to charity this Christmas, keep the following tips in mind:

  •  Approach your charity of choice directly.
  •  Never give out your personal, credit card or online account details unless it was you who initiated the contact.
  •  Check the charity online at /fairtrading. Charities must be approved by the Office of Fair Trading if they are conducting an appeal for support.
  •   If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.

"We have a strong plan to make this state the safest place to live, work and raise a family for everyone, including our most vulnerable," Mr Bleijie said. "Christmas is a time of giving and I urge all Queenslanders to think of those less fortunate at this time."

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