Bratislava, like all major European cities, has its fair share of bogus charity collectors and so you will frequently see people soliciting cash donations for charities from passers-by. They are usually equipped with a clipboard and a paper bearing the logo of whatever charity or international appeal is currently making headlines, and they never carry a photo ID card or a permit and if you ask for it, they will say they forgot it.
In Bratislava, these tricksters are not even Slovak, but mostly from Romania, and they are accompanied by their children, who are also armed with clipboards. They ask you to sign a petition in a good cause, which most people are quite happy to do. Then they ask you for a donation, though, and so many people feel obliged considering the fact that they agreed to ‘support’ the cause. But as sure as bears defecate in the forest, the charity is totally fictional.
Meanwhile, the copious quantities of law enforcers on the streets seem more interested in checking their reflections in shop front windows as they saunter through the Old Town, rather than actually checking the scammers’ credentials.
With so many ticket touts and people with false charity petitions around, one might be led to believe that there was ample work for the local plods. But alas no, with a very cheery and well behaved hockey crowd the local bobbies and ‘bobettes’ seem more preoccupied with chatting to each other and posing than actual law enforcement.
These bogus charity fraudsters are so blatant that it’s beyond belief. There are so many local and international charities in need of relief, while these scammers are fraudulently raising thousands of euro that should be going to real local charities. This makes the job done by volunteer workers of bona fide charities all the more difficult
Many real charity collectors face an uphill battle when collecting for the truly needy. Slovak charities are seriously underfunded and are in real need of help and cash donations, but still the scammers go on about their daily business unimpeded.
If you are approached on the street by people claiming to be raising money or collecting signatures for charities or any other cause, check their credentials before you sign their sheet or make a donation and then check your valuables.
In fact, while you are at it, have a look around for a strolling law enforcer, and try to introduce them to your latest acquaintances. If you really want to help charities, that is the best thing you can do.