How To Spot A Bushfire Tradie And Charity Scammer
Australians are being urged to be aware of scammers in the wake of devastating bushfires ripping through parts of Australia.
Whether it be 'do-gooders' using fake charities or dodgy tradies promising a quick fix for cash, Aussie's are being urged to be on the lookout for bushfire scammers.
Last year residents lost close to $50,000 to fake charities alone, according to Scam Watch. The majority of those caught were women who gave their credit card details out over the phone or via email.
Scammers often try to take advantage of a person's generosity and compassion for others in need in the wake of disasters or emergencies.
They will pose as an agent of a legitimate well-known charity, or they create their own name.
Scammers aren't limited to phone or email, individuals or small groups can approach you on the street and even knock on your door.
If you've never heard of the charity before, or it is well-known but the website or email looks fake, always err on the side of caution.
If the person collecting donations does not have official identification, do not hand over your cash. Keep in mind that that person may have forged ID.
If at any time you are pressured into making a donation or made to feel selfish about not donating, it could also be a serious red flag.
Also, if you're not issued a receipt or the receipt you receive does not have an official marking on it, be wary.
How To Protect Yourself from charity scamMERS
It's important to contact your bank immediately if you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, according to Scam Watch.
Any organisation that appears dodgy should be reported to the ACCC via the report a scam page.
DO NOT give your account or credit card details to anyone or group that cannot be verified and is not known. If you're approached in person, the advice is to ask details about the charity such as its name and address while also checking out how money will be used.
Who to donate to
The Salvation Army has deployed relief teams to provide food and water, along with emotional and practical support, to emergency services personnel and displaced people as they arrive at evacuation centres.
They've launched the Bushfire Disaster Appeal. You can head to salvationarmy.org.au, call 13 SALVOS (13 72 58) or donate at any Woolworths checkout.
There are a number of other charities that help out emergency workers, those impacted, and animals that are feeling the heat.
Be aware of dodgy tradies
Those affected by the bushfires are urged to be on the lookout for dodgy tradies.
Often they will knock on the door of an affected property and offer their services in exchange for cash.
"We strongly recommend that if someone comes door-knocking they be ejected from the property immediately," the Insurance Council of Australia spokesperson Campbell Fuller told 10 daily.
"They will be playing on emotionally vulnerable residents, also the elderly, unwell or those from non-English speaking backgrounds," he continued.
If there is a fake tradie lurking around, contact local police to let them know.
Even if legitimate builders are wanting to give you a helping hand, Fuller urged residents to always contact their insurer before any work is carried out.