The recent floods in Northern NSW and South East Queensland have been hugely destructive and devastating for those directly impacted. It can be hard to bear witness to such tragedy and not want to help. People all around the country have generously opened their wallets or donated essential items to those in need with many fundraisers underway. Donation hubs and collection points have emerged in major flood-affected areas as waters recede and communities begin the massive undertaking of cleaning up and rebuilding their towns.
Aussies wanting to donate to charities or funds to help those affected have been warned to be wary of possible scammers looking to take advantage of people’s generosity. Previous natural disasters have seen scammers capitalise on compassion by setting up fake charities, fraudulent donation pages or taking advantage of flood victims with badly executed repair work.
Both the NSW Government and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's Scamwatch have issued warnings in recent weeks to be vigilant when seeking a way to contribute to relief funding. Fair Trading Minister Eleni Petinos has issued a statement announcing that scammers had engaged in fraudulent behaviour (such as setting up fake charities or ripping off flood victims via dodgy repair work) following previous flooding events and to be mindful this may occur once again.
At times of disaster or crisis people can be more vulnerable so being on high alert is recommended. Minister Petinos has recommended always checking the license details of a tradesperson before accepting services which you can do via the public register on the Services NSW app or website. NSW Fair Trading is planning to have investigators and inspectors on the ground in areas impacted by floods to ensure residents are being protected. You can also lodge a complaint with NSW Fair Trading with a complaint, visit or call 13 32 20
Unfortunately, the scam industry is becoming increasingly lucrative with figures from the ACCC’s Scamwatch website revealing there were 92,117 reported scams in NSW in 2021, with the amount lost reaching $110,080,190. It’s a sobering reminder to never give out your personal, credit card or online account details unless you initiated contact and it is a trusted source. If at any point you are concerned about the security of your Australian Mutual Bank account please contact us on 13 61 91.
ScamWatch has advised Australians wanting to offer support to flood-affected communities and individuals to do so only via legitimate charities. In order to ensure a charity is official closely check their website and visit either the ANCN Charity Register for national charities or Services NSW for local charities. Be on the lookout for cold calls, door to door fundraising and unsolicited emails asking for your donations or personal details. Skip the crowdfunding platforms unless a business or individual you know personally has set up a page.
So how can you give back with confidence? Approach listed charity organisations of your choice directly to make a donation. Here are some registered charities with dedicated Flood recovery campaigns running:
GIVIT is a registered charity platform that has been coordinating donations and offers of assistance to help people affected by severe storms and flooding. According to its website, GIVIT is working with State Governments along with support organisations on the ground to "assess need and advise what critical and immediate material support is required”. Once requests are received, the donation platform taps into the generosity of the public to meet critical needs. You can choose to donate funds or elect to courier or post specifically requested items to individuals via this platform. During the 2011 floods in Queensland GIVIT became the Queensland state government’s official website for managing donations during disasters. Thanks to GIVIT charities were able to focus their efforts and resources directing them where they were most needed. You can choose to donate money to buy a specific item that has been requested or you can donate goods you already have. It’s a great way to direct your high quality donations to where they are needed rather than overwhelming local op shops. In 2015 Juliette Write, the founder of GIVIT was named Australian Local Hero at the Australia Day awards in recognition of her contribution to society. The GIVIT mission is to “meet society's need in an environmentally sustainable way”. To donate or to find out more GIVIT’s storms and flood appeal visit www.givit.org.au.
The Australian Mutuals Foundation
The Australian Mutuals Foundation (AMF) has activated its emergency/disaster relief donations portal in order to accept donations from mutuals and the members of Australian Mutual Organisations (including members of the Australian Mutual Bank) for the current Flood crisis in Australia.
The AMF will use 100% of donations received for the social and public welfare of those affected, and to help communities to recover from the flood disaster. You can donate funds via the Australian Mutuals Foundation website. The AMF is a registered charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.
If you and your family have been personally affected by the floods we would like to remind our members Australian Mutual Bank is here to assist during this difficult time. You can find out more about the support available here.