Charity Scams

Because many seniors donate to charity, older people are often the targets of charity scams. Legitimate organizations may ask for donations in person, over the phone, by mail or via email. Unfortunately, many scams operate this way as well. It can be hard to tell the difference. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • You don’t have to make a donation. Don’t let anyone pressure you. If you’re not sure or feel uncomfortable, just say, “No thanks, I’m not interested.” A legitimate organization will respect your wishes.
  • Be assertive. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions.
  • Never send cash, and don’t give your personal information, social insurance number, credit card, or banking information to a stranger.
  • If you want to support a particular organization, consider planned giving. You can decide how much you can afford to give, and contact the organization directly to set up a monthly or one-time donation.

Not all non-profit organizations are registered charities. If you donate to an organization that is not a registered charity, you won’t get a receipt for income tax purposes.


Use the Charities Listings to confirm whether a charity is registered under the Income Tax Act and is therefore eligible to issue official donation receipts; view a charity’s contact information; and view a charity’s Registered Charity Information Return, which includes:financial information (assets, liabilities, income, and expenditures); and activities.