Charitable Cautions

Know the Facts

Donations are a critical source of funding for many worthwhile causes. Unfortunately, there are con artists who pretend to be raising money for charity, but keep donations for their personal gain. They may contact you by mail, e-mail, telephone or in person. Once a donation has been made, there is usually nothing you can do to get it back. Before making any donation, be careful!


Ask Before You Give

  • Can I get a tax receipt?
  • What's your charitable registration number?
  • How much of my donation goes directly to helping others? How much goes for administration and fundraising costs?
  • Can you mail me more information before I donate?


Beware of ...

  • High-pressure solicitors who want you to contribute immediately.
  • Someone who calls you and thanks you for a pledge you don't remember making.
  • Names that sound like well-known charities. Many con artists use copycat names.
  • Mail-box address instead of street address.
  • Temporary tables in public places where you asked for spare change.


Protect Yourself

  • Don't give in to pressure.
  • Never give cash - make cheques payable to the charity's full name.
  • Never give out personal information.
  • Ask for a tax receipt.
  • Check facts. Reject vague answers.



  1. Real charities are always ready to answer questions - they have nothing to hide.
  2. Once you've given your money away, there is usually very little that can be done to get it back. Prevention is the key.
  3. It's your money and you have a right to know how it will be spent.
  4. By making informed donations, you will ensure that your money is going to help real charities.


For more information...


Ministry of Consumer and Business Services

Consumers Services Bureau




Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee, Charitable Property Program

Ministry of the Attorney General




Canada Revenue Agency, Charities Directorate

To find out if a charity is registered for tax purposes:

To file a complaint: call Local Police or Project PhoneBusters: 1-888-495-8501

based on brochure from Ontario Government, Consumers Services Bureau