Police warn of disaster relief scams

Greater Victoria police are reminding people who want to donate to relief efforts assisting victims of the Japanese earthquake to be mindful of where their money is going.

“We see scams, as a matter of routine, after major incidents like this. We saw it after the tsunami in 2004, and after the Haiti earthquake last year,” said Saanich police Sgt. Dean Jantzen.

It’s become common to receive e-mails or even phone calls from individuals claiming to be from reputable organizations requesting donations to help relief efforts, but they may not be who they say they are.

“Donate only to credible agencies. Mail a cheque, go in to a charity’s office, go directly to their website – as opposed to (responding to) a pop-up saying ‘click here to donate,’” Jantzen said. “There’s little to nothing we can do about it if you do get scammed, because much of the time it’s done offshore.”

editor@oakbaynews.com