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Donors beware of fraudulent callers

13 March 2012

Calgary -

Albertans should be on high alert when callers are asking for donations over the phone – particularly right now because someone is calling Albertans at home and asking for their chequing account information.

In at least a couple of reported cases, the fraudulent callers have identified themselves as working on behalf of the Canadian Cancer Society and have asked for donors to renew their monthly contributions over the phone by providing their banking information. The Canadian Cancer Society does not ask for bank account information over the phone.

“Like most people, we are outraged when we hear that people are taking advantage of Alberta’s donors,” says Dan Holinda, Executive Director of the Canadian Cancer Society, Alberta/NWT Division. “It’s beneath contempt to steal from anyone in this way, particularly targeting vulnerable groups like seniors.”

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, Canada's central fraud data repository and a trusted source for fraud prevention information, reminds the public to never give out personal or financial information over the phone or at the door. 

“Don’t ever provide banking information over the phone – if someone calls you and asks you to do that, hang up,” says RCMP Staff Sergeant Paul Proulx, manager of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

“Be an informed donor,” says Proulx. “Take the information over the phone if you’re interested in making a donation, but call them back later – at your convenience – after you’ve done your homework.”

The Canadian Cancer Society does not solicit over the phone, nor does it ever request bank account information over the phone. However, the organization will call existing donors if necessary to clarify information that has been previously submitted by donors.

For donors who want to truly support the fight against cancer, the Canadian Cancer Society does offer HopeWorks, a monthly donation program. Donors can safely make online donations through cancer.ca or call the Donor Relations department at 1 800 661-2262.

Fraudulent donor requests at this time of year are particularly difficult when the Society is getting ready to kick off its busiest fundraising season, which includes Daffodil Days and Relay For Life. Daffodil Days begins in late March, and involves local volunteers selling fresh daffodils for $6 a bunch. Relay For Life is the annual overnight fundraiser held in communities throughout Alberta and the Northwest Territories in May and June.

How donors can protect themselves

  • Never provide personal information such as your bank account information, social insurance number, date of birth, credit card numbers or PIN over the telephone, unless you initiate the call.
  • Only deal with reputable charities – do a little background research to make sure they are who they say they are.
  • If you receive a telephone call, ask for the information to be sent to you in writing.
  • Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into immediately making a donation.

About the Canadian Cancer Society

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website www.cancer.ca or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

For more information, please contact:

Deanna Kraus

Media Relations Specialist

Phone: (403) 541-5375