Spring cleaning season is underway and with the annual refreshing of the house, there usually comes a refreshing of wardrobes. With warmer weather slowly appearing on the horizon, it is time to put away jumpers, winter jackets and accessories, and take out lighter clothing. It also provides people with an opportunity to throw out old items.
However, it is also a favourite time of year for scammers and thieves who pose as pseudo "charities" to collect clothes on the pretence of doing a good deed for the needy. In fact, most of the profits go to finance criminal activities, not to help those less fortunate, RTBF reports.
These fake non-profit organisations even go as far as installing their own clothing bins, which look identical to authentic collection points minus the recognisable logos of Oxfam or Petits Riens, for example. The clothes collected there are then resold, either as individual second-hand items or by weight.
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Some scammers also go door to door to collect items. First, a flyer announcing a collection is dropped through your letterbox before a van passes through the streets a few days later to pick up your donations. However, official non-profit associations no longer organise this kind of home pick-up.
In total, it is estimated that 10,000 tons of clothing are diverted away from rightful causes and official charities every year. Government sources estimate the loss at €500 per tonne.