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ACNC warns of scam targeting charities

Organisations warned to be careful.

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) has been notified of a scam targeting charities regarding registration of intellectual property (IP).

One charity contacted the ACNC about letters they had received from an organisation calling itself “Patent & Trademark Agency”, advising of several trademarks that were allegedly either due for renewal or pending cancellation.

The letters included an invoice for payment of trademark renewal.

The ACNC recommend that charities that receive these letters do not make any payment or provide any information. They should destroy the letters immediately.

In information published on unsolicited invoices, IP Australia reminds people that “once you apply for an IP right, your details become publicly available and other organisations may attempt to contact you”.

Charities that own a registered IP right may find that they are the target of letters about registration. IP Australia has clarified that it has not sent these letters.

The ACNC advises charities to be wary of any unusual emails, phone calls or letters.

“We recommend that charities check for warning signs in letters and emails they receive, including references to organisations that cannot be found online,” said the organisation.

Other warning signs might be that the letters contain poor grammar and spelling, are poorly presented, or are inconsistent with either information received previously or on official online registers.



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