June 10, 2021 – With growing national outrage about the recent discovery of unmarked graves at a former residential school site in Kamloops, B.C., and the overwhelming outpouring of support across the world for our Indigenous peoples, scammers are targeting potential donors with fake charity affiliations and fake online retailer websites.
In a consumer report to Better Business Bureau, reference was made to a sponsored ad on Facebook by an online retailer called Tee Toro. The ad mentioned that proceeds from all sales would go to the Indian Residential School Survivor Society.
“The link takes you to their website where they are selling Orange Shirt Day / Every Child Matters shirts for US$19 – 23. However, there is no further mention about donation proceeds anywhere on the website or at any point of the transaction process,” a Surrey-based customer told the BBB.
BBB’s preliminary investigations show that the address listed on Tee Toro’s website belongs to an online t-shirt company called Viral Style, which does not appear to have any affiliations with Tee Toro. There have also been several consumer warnings on other platforms about Tee Toro where consumers made purchases of up to US$40 and nothing was delivered.
“Opportunists trying to take advantage of a horrible tragedy is nothing new,” said Karla Laird, Senior Manager for Media & Communications at BBB. “In these recent reports, suspicious retailers seem to be using cause-related marketing strategies, where they lure in consumers with the pitch that when they conduct transactions on their platforms, some of the purchase price will help charities connected to Indigenous peoples. However, these retailer websites have no connections to the stated charities and are simply cashing in on your generosity and willingness to help others.”
If you or someone you know is in need of support during this time, contact the 24-hour National Indian Residential School Crisis Line at 1-866 925-4419.