Bob Seely – Charity Scams

In News by Bembridge PC

Figures from the national fraud reporting centre show that almost £350,000 of charitable donations ended up in the pockets of criminals over the festive period last year.

I urge people to check before giving to help ensure their donations reach genuine charities this Christmas. Action Fraud, the Charity Commission, and the Fundraising Regulator, have warned that while the vast majority of fundraising appeals and collections are genuine, criminals can set up fake charities, or even impersonate well-known charitable organisations, to deceive victims.

By giving to a registered, regulated charity this Christmas, Islanders can have assurance that their funds will be accounted for in line with charity law by checking the Charity Commission’s register of charities.

I have been heartened to witness the generous community spirit that Islanders have demonstrated this year and I would like to thank all those who have been looking out for vulnerable neighbours and friends.

I don’t want Islanders to get caught out by these scams, so I urge people to be vigilant against charity scams and make sure they are donating to genuine registered charities. There are lots of charities who need our help at the moment, let’s make sure that our donations get to those who need it.

Action Fraud, the Charity Commission and the Fundraising Regulator say following these simple steps will ensure donations go to the right place:

  • Make sure the charity is genuine before giving any financial information. Look for the registered charity number on their website. You can check the charity name and registration number at https://www.gov.uk/find-charity-information.
  • You can also check if a charity is registered with the Fundraising Regulator. All charities registered here have made a commitment to good fundraising practice: https://www.fundraisingregulator.org.uk/directory.
  • If you’re approached by a collector on the street or at your door, ask to see the collector’s ID badge. You can also check whether the collector has a licence to fundraise with the local authority, or has the consent of the private site owner.
  • Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails, and never respond to unsolicited messages and phone calls that ask for your personal or financial details – even if it’s in the name of a charity.
  • To donate online, type in the address of the charity website yourself rather than clicking on a link. If in any doubt, contact the charity directly about donating.
  • Be cautious when donating to an online fundraising page. Fake fundraising pages will often be badly written or have spelling mistakes. When donating to an online fundraising page, only donate to fundraising pages created by someone you know and trust.

After making these checks, if you think that a fundraising appeal or collection is fake, report it to Action Fraud online at actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.