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5 January 2015

The state’s consumer watchdog is warning generous South Australians to beware of people knocking on doors in the northern suburbs and Adelaide Hills, claiming to collect cash donations for those affected by the current Sampson Flat bushfires.

Acting Commissioner for Consumer Affairs Lyn Guerin is today reminding residents to be careful of door knockers, and even websites that seek donations claiming to represent the Country Fire Service (CFS) or any charity collecting for bushfire victims.

“It is outstanding to see how many South Australians have rallied together and reached out to help those in need over the last few days. Unfortunately, people’s goodwill are also being abused by some,” the Acting Commissioner said.

“When donating money to help people affected by a crisis, please be vigilant and thoroughly check the legitimacy of charities when donating to help fire victims.

“You may be approached on the street or at your home by people collecting money.

“Fake fundraisers or charity scams may also set up false websites which look similar to those operated by real charities or organisations.

“Some scammers will also call or email you requesting donations.

“Whilst many legitimate charities exist, scammers have been known to take advantage of the public’s generosity and kindness in the aftermath of disastrous events.

“The CFS in particular have made it clear that they do not collect money in this way,” she said.

In South Australia, organisations collecting money for a charitable purpose are required to be licensed.

Authorities and organisations have already been inundated with offers of help to fire victims.

From yesterday, the State Government activated the SA Bushfire Recovery Hotline for people who have lost their home, suffered trauma or other loss – or for those wanting to provide financial donations to support impacted communities.

Donations to the SA bushfires emergency relief fund can be made in a number of ways and further detail is available on the sa.gov.au website.

Alternatively, you can check online to see if a charity is licenced.
Anyone who is approached directly should contact CBS on 131 882. For more information on how to avoid fake fundraising please visit the CBS website.