Almost a Quarter of a Million Children Missed Out on a Healthy Meal Because
of Fraudsters

New survey finds generous Canadians want to give, but are vulnerable to fraud

TORONTO, Dec. 3 /CNW/ - This holiday season, two out of three Canadians (66%) plan to make a donation, but the majority (51%) are concerned about becoming a victim to a fraudster representing a false charity.

In 2007-2008, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre (PhoneBusters) reported that over $328,000 of charitable contributions went into the pockets of fraudsters rather than going to charities in need. That amount could have bought over 240,000 healthy meals for underprivileged and homeless youth if given to a legitimate charity, according to Brown Bagging it for Calgary's Kids.

The survey commissioned by Capital One Canada, in partnership with Canadahelps.org and Volunteer Canada, found that 18% of Canadians have been a victim or know someone who has been a victim of a fraudster representing a false charity. The good news is that many Canadians (96%) do not give in to high pressure tactics and do not give their financial information to solicitors.

"It's the time of year when charities and non-profit groups step up their fundraising efforts, and in an economy where every dollar counts, news of potential fraud or scams can have a chilling effect on contributions," said Laurel Ostfield, spokesperson, Capital One Canada. "Capital One believes that through awareness and education we can help Canadians protect their personal information from fraud and ID theft, and help ensure that their hard-earned money goes to legitimate causes."

Although most Canadians are worried about being defrauded by false charities, too few know what signs to look for when they are being solicited. The survey found that:

    
    -   Only 3% of Canadians contact the Canada Revenue Agency to confirm
        that a charity is registered
    -   Only 13% of Canadians ask the solicitor for a charitable tax number
    -   Only 16% of Canadians have asked if the charity is registered when
        they are solicited for donations
    

"In the midst of growing concern and awareness about charity fraud, we want to stress that charitable giving - especially at this time of year - is vitally important," says Owen Charters, Executive Director of CanadaHelps. "Legitimate Canadian charities provide essential services. We urge Canadians to educate themselves about identifying legitimate charities and to continue to support the causes that matter to them."

"Volunteers play a crucial role in raising funds for thousands of charities across the country," says Ruth MacKenzie, President of Volunteer Canada. "In building and maintaining the trust of those donating, it is equally important that these volunteers stay informed and be fully educated on the most appropriate way to collect donations, not only this holiday season but year-round."

Capital One, Canadahelps.org and Volunteer Canada provide the following tips to help Canadians donate generously and safely:

    
    -   Make sure the charity is registered with the Canada Revenue Agency
        (CRA) and provides you with their charitable registration number.
        CanadaHelps.org only lists charities registered with the CRA.
    -   Ask to see a charity's financial statements. These should be readily
        available to anyone who asks and give you a sense of how the charity
        spends their money.
    -   Understand the impact the charity has and what difference they make
        in the community. Charities should be able to give you clear outcomes
        of the programs or services they provide.
    -   Research the causes you want to support and how much of your budget
        you want to donate to charity. You will feel less pressured to give
        when solicited if you have already planned your giving.
    -   Avoid any charity that pressures you into making a donation or isn't
        open to sharing more information about their organization.
    

About the Survey

From November 10 to November 11, 2009, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among a randomly selected, representative sample of 1,027 adult Canadians who are Angus Reid Forum panel members. The margin of error is +/-3.1%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current gender, age and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About Capital One

Located in Toronto, Ontario, Capital One has offered Canadian consumers a range of competitive MasterCard credit cards since 1996, when the company first introduced the Platinum MasterCard in Canada. Capital One Canada is a division of Capital One Bank, a subsidiary of Capital One Financial Corporation of McLean, Virginia (NYSE: COF).

About Canadahelps.org

CanadaHelps is an online donations website where donors can give safely and securely to all charities in Canada that are registered with the Canada Revenue Agency. The mission of CanadaHelps is to engage Canadians in the charitable sector and provide accessible and affordable online technology to both donors and charities to promote - and ultimately increase - charitable giving in Canada.

About Volunteer Canada

Volunteer Canada is the national voice for volunteerism in Canada. Since 1977, the organization has been committed to increasing and supporting volunteerism and civic participation through ongoing programs, special projects and national initiatives, by developing resources and by engaging in research and training across the country. Working with volunteer centres, community and national organizations and businesses, Volunteer Canada actively leads national dialogues on how volunteerism is related to citizen engagement and civil society and provides leadership on issues and trends in the Canadian volunteer movement.

About the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre (PhoneBusters)

Established in January of 1993, PhoneBusters is the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, managed on a tripartite basis by the Ontario Provincial Police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Competition Bureau of Canada. PhoneBusters plays a key role in educating the public about specific fraudulent telemarketing and identity theft pitches. The call centre also plays a vital role in the collection and dissemination of victim evidence, statistics, and documentation, which are made available to outside law enforcement agencies.

SOURCE Capital One Services, Inc.

For further information: For further information: Laurel Ostfield, (416) 549-2753, laurel.ostfield@capitalone.com; Owen Charters, (416) 628-6948 ext. 31, owen@canadahelps.org

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Capital One Services, Inc.

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