S'pore Police Force warns public about fundraising scams for Australian bushfires

Online fundraising scams spreading like fire.

Sumita Thiagarajan | January 14, 2020, 04:42 PM

It's admirable to want to help those who have been affected by the bushfires raging in Australia, but don't let yourself be taken in.

According to this post by the Singapore Police Force (SPF), authorities in Australia have issued alerts on fake fund raising appeals.

Scammers have set up fake websites and social media pages to solicit funds

Other than cold calls and direct messages, scammers have created fake charity websites and social media pages.

In some cases, scammers have taken to social media, such as Instagram, to create fake social media pages and associate their page with legitimate charities or rescue organisations.

instagram bushfire fundraising scams Photos by thewildfirefund/Instagram and australiansafetyco/Instagram

To tackle this, some Instagram users have set up anti-scam accounts to inform others and expose fake accounts.

View this post on Instagram

The very FACT that people think it’s OKAY to SCAM people based on an ACTUAL CRISES, is actually DISGUSTING! Oh no, they’re doing it again. @plantatreeco is fake! There are many reasons to this. First of all, they’ve scammed the entirety of instagram before. Scroll down in my feed and you’ll see. Second of all they are already advertising “Free Necklaces” on their story. Next, they have no email and their website only sells merchandise. Next, they’re following nearly 2000 people! They aren’t verified and provide absolutely no proof whatsoever that they can fund this. They even blocked me because they’re afraid I’ll expose them! Make sure to share this to your story ASAP and stop them from gaining attention to grow their account and PROFIT off of your attention. SPREAD AWARENESS BY SHARING THIS POST! (edit - my second post ever exposed them for a different scam) (edit 2 - We need more people to see this, tag people in the comments who have to see this evidence!)

A post shared by Exposing Instagram Scams (@exposinginstascams) on

SPF reminds Singaporeans to stay vigilant

While SPF has not received any reports of local scam cases, they would like the public to be alert regarding any online fundraising appeals for the Australian bushfires.

SPF shared the following measures on their Facebook pages:

  • Don't donate on platforms that don't verify the legitimacy of the fundraiser, or don't guarantee that your money will be returned if it's a fake page.
  • Be wary of crowdfunding requests as these may be fake.
  • Check the terms and conditions of funding platforms and ensure you are dealing with official organisations.
  • If you are unsure, make your donation to an established charity instead.
  • If you are donating to an established charity or a non-profit organisation, ensure that it is registered and that you are on its official website.

To check which charities and non-profits are registered in Australia, you can visit the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission's website here.

You can read SPF's full post below:

Top photos by thewildfirefund/Instagram and australiansafetyco/Instagram