Fake charities are scams designed to take advantage of their victims’ generosity and compassion, swindling unsuspecting donors for their own personal gain. Either posing as genuine charities or promoting their own fake foundations, these fraudsters often request donations after natural disasters or major emergencies. As well as leaving you out of pocket, these door-to-door and online scams also channel critical proceeds away from the causes they claim to support.
If you feel that you may have donated to a fake charity, it’s vital that you report the scam and book a consultation with IFW as soon as possible. Our world-renowned investigators will gather actionable evidence so that you can track down and take legal action against the offenders, putting a stop to the charity fraud for good.
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Fake charity investigators with a proven track record
Global experts in scam investigation, IFW is regarded for its trailblazing ability to uncover evidence and take down fake charities around the world. Our experienced investigators, researchers and analysts solve cases with unparalleled efficiency.
At IFW, we believe in implementing a proactive, driven and dynamic approach to every scam investigation, leveraging direct access to local databases, expert witnesses in cyber fraud, and a network of confidential informants.
IFW works closely with state, federal and international law enforcement agencies to crack down on fake charities. We can also liaise with local and foreign correspondent lawyers to shed light on money trails and hidden assets in almost any country.
Our investigators will present a rigorous brief of evidence for use in criminal proceedings in the relevant jurisdiction. Armed with irrefutable proof of fraud, as well the identity of those behind it, you can take legal action to retrieve your hard-earned money.
IFW conducts each fake charity investigation with complete professionalism and sensitivity. To protect our clients’ privacy, all personal data is encrypted and case details kept confidential unless we obtain consent to disclose this information.
Frequently asked questionsTop
Charity fraud occurs when the offender pretends to be a legitimate charity to get their hands on donation money. Instead of transferring these funds to the advertised cause, they are used for the culprit’s own personal gain. Scammers may either impersonate registered charities or seek donations through a false organisation. They may also act as individuals who require financial assistance for healthcare or other critical reasons.
Fake charities work in a variety of ways. Scammers may go door-to-door collecting money, approach people on the street or even set up fake websites that resemble those of real charities. Others will email or cold call you.
Although this type of fraud happens all year round, it is particularly prevalent following high-profile disasters and emergencies so it pays to be alert during these times.
To confirm that a charity is legit, check whether it is registered on the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission website.
If a charity collector approaches you in person, ask to see their identification and request details about the charity itself, including its registered name, address and exactly how they intend to use the proceeds. If they are defensive or unable to answer your questions clearly, walk away.
Other warning signs to watch out for include:
- You have never heard of the charity;
- You are familiar with the charity but its website, letters or emails look suspicious or different than usual;
- The charity requests a gift card, wire transfer or cash donation;
- The person collecting donations is unable to present any form of identification;
- The person collecting donations asks for a cheque to be made out to their personal name instead of the charities;
- You feel pressured to pay a donation; or
- After donating, you receive no receipt or it includes no details of the charity.
If you suspect that you have come across or fallen victim to a fake charity scam, please follow the below steps as soon as possible:
- Report the scam to your financial institution, local police, social media providers and Scam Watch so that each organisation is notified and can assist you in taking the next steps to recover from the crime.
- Contact IFW investigators so that we can help you to hunt down the offender. This highly sensitive and high-stakes procedure requires the skills and resources of investigative specialists.
Charity scam investigations tend to take anywhere from one to three months. This time frame rests in the complexity of your case and whether or not you decide to take legal action.
If the fraudster is identified and tracked down, our investigators can assist law enforcement officials in filing search warrants and/or criminal charges against them – an often complicated and lengthy task that will add time to the overall process.
The cost to investigate a fake charity depends on the sophistication of the scam, the damage incurred, and the jurisdiction in which the crime occurred.
Before commencing the investigation, our investigators will share a tailored proposal for your case, including a suggested budget to maximise the chances of a successful outcome.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the probability of a successful outcome varies on a case-by-case basis. While success is never guaranteed, the more actionable evidence we uncover, the greater the likelihood that you will be equipped to prosecute the culprit.
At IFW, we will perform a preliminary assessment of your case to advise on the realistic likelihood of tracking down the offender. Armed with our expert insight, you may choose whether or not to proceed with the fake charity investigation.