They say charity begins at home. It should also begin with a few pointed questions.
Canadians are a generous lot. In 2013, 82 per cent of the population made a donation to a charity or not-for-profit organization, Statistics Canada reports. When you're that generous, you can be sure someone unscrupulous is going to try to cash in on it.
You should always look into a charity before forking over funds. You can also look up the charity on the Canada Revenue Agency's website to confirm it is registered on its Charities Listing.
When it comes to giving, use common sense and look out for the same potential pitfalls of any major purchase. Always be wary of high-pressure or pushy sales tactics from charity workers, or if a charity contacts you looking for a pledge you don't remember making.
Fraudsters may solicit funds using a fake charity name and logo that's close to the real deal. If in doubt, walk away, and never give personal information — especially credit card or banking information — to a person or organization you do not know.
Some companies may claim they are selling goods for charity, but as the I-Team found last year, the charity may not even know about it.
If you have been a victim of a charitable donations fraud, contact the police, the Canadian Anti-fraud Call Centre, or lodge a complaint with the Consumer Affairs office.
If you have a tip for the CBC News I-Team, please call our confidential tip line at 204-788-3744 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.