Humboldt Bronco’s Deadly Crash Triggers BBB Warning of Charity Fraud

As Canadians across the country mourn the loss of those killed in the Humboldt Broncos team bus crash last week, people are reaching out to help the affected families. But, before donors dig into their wallets, BBB urges people to check out a charity to make sure their donation actually reaches those who need it.

“It’s easy to quickly hand over your money to a charity or website when such a tragic loss of life occurs,” says Mary O’Sullivan-Andersen, president and CEO of BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay. “Scammers are hiding behind realistic, but phony charity and donation websites and names. They prey on people’s generosity and desire to help those in need and count on people to overlook the warning signs of charity fraud.”
Avoid a donation disaster with BBB Wise Giving Alliance’s charity tips:
  • Be cautious when giving online. Watch out for spam messages and emails that claim to link to a relief organization. If you are seeking to give to a charitable organization involved in relief efforts, go directly to the charity’s website.
  • Find out if the charity or organization is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups. Some charities may be raising money to pass along to other organizations. If so, you may want to consider “avoiding the middleman” and give directly to charities that have a presence in the region. Or at least check out the ultimate recipients of these donations to ensure the organizations are equipped to actually provide aid.
  • Rely on expert opinion when it comes to evaluating a charity. Be careful when relying on third-party recommendations such as bloggers or other websites, as they might not have fully researched the listed relief organizations. The public can go to to research charities and relief organizations and check if they meet the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.
  • Be wary of claims that 100 per cent of donations will assist those in need. Despite what an organization might claim, charities have fund raising and administrative costs. Even a credit card donation will involve, at minimum, a processing fee. They may use some of their other funds to pay this, but the expenses will still be incurred.

For more consumer tips, visit