Perth: Consumer Protection has issued an alert to the public to be wary of men purporting to be Buddhist monks asking for donations, saying they may not be genuine.
The director who oversees Scamnet at Consumer Protection, Dave Hillyard, says the department has received a number of reports in recent weeks of these people operating in CBD and in Mandurah.
“They walk up to individuals in the street, they are dressed in saffron robes and they are offering a token that looks like a gold coin,” Dave Hillyard said.
“They say they are collecting funds and say that other people have donated money and open up a list to show that people have donated $20, $30 or $50 and asking people to make a donation.
“They have very poor English skills, so it’s not like a patter of words to people, they are just communicating and then asking for a donation.
“Our concern is that they are not who they say they are.”
Consumer Protection has spoken to the Buddhist Society of Western Australia, which says these men are not members of their organisation and that Buddhist monastic rules do not allow monks receive or even handle money.
“They are certainly concerned that it is their reputation that is being tarnished by this,” Mr Hillyard said.
Consumer Protection is currently working with the City of Perth rangers to monitor and investigate the ‘monks’, and suggests that the public simply avoid these men.
“We’re not convinced they are genuine and until they can establish that they are genuine fundraisers and are authorised to do so the public should just not deal with them at all.”
‘Monk’ in the CBD, Perth. (Supplied Photo, Consumer Protection