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Charity and Medical Scams

Scammers are heartless and can strike during desperate times of need.

How the scam works

Scammers take advantage of people seeking to donate to a good cause or find an answer to a health problem.

Charity scams involve scammers collecting money by pretending to work for a legitimate cause or charity, or a fictitious one they have created. Often scammers will exploit a recent natural disaster or crisis that has been in the news.

These scams divert much-needed donations away from legitimate charities. Charities must be registered with government - donate confidently by checking their registration first.

Miracle cure scams offer a range of products and services that can appear to be legitimate alternative medicines, usually promising quick and effective remedies for serious medical conditions. The treatments are often promoted using false testimonies from people who have been 'cured'.

Weight loss scams promise dramatic weight loss with little or no effort. This type of scam may involve an unusual or restrictive diet, revolutionary exercise, a 'fat-busting' device, breakthrough pills, patches or creams. You may be required to make a large advance payment or enter into a long term contract to receive ongoing supplies.

Fake online pharmacies offer counterfeit drugs and medicine at very cheap prices, and sometimes provide them without a doctors prescription. These drugs may have limited or no active ingredients, which can have lethal consquences for users.

Protect yourself

  • If you are approached by a charity street collector, ask to see their identification. If you have any doubts about who they are, do not pay.
  • Check the Australian Charities Not for Profit Association's list of registered charities.
  • Consult your healthcare professional if you are considering a 'miracle' or 'instant-fix' claim about medicines, supplements or other treatments.
  • Ask yourself: if this really is a miracle cure, wouldn't your healthcare professional have told you about it?

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