With reports of charity fraud increasing by more than 40% in the last year, the Fundraising Regulator, Charity Commission for England and Wales and Action Fraud have come together to help the public give safely to charitable causes this Christmas.
Their campaign urges donors to make simple checks to ensure their donations reach the intended cause.
It suggests that people do the following:Check the charity name and its registration number on the Charity Commission website to find out whether the charity is legitimate. Look out for the Fundraising Badge on charity fundraising materials – the logo that says ‘registered with Fundraising Regulator’ Use the Fundraising Regulator’s online Directory to find out whether a charity has registered with it and committed to excellent standards of fundraising practice Ask questions about the cause – and if people are still unsure about giving, to ask for more information
The campaign also notes that there has been an increase in personal cause fundraising, which is not regulated by the Charity Commission or the Fundraising Regulator. It says that while many of these appeals are legitimate, fraudsters and scammers have also been known to set up such pages to take advantage of people’s generosity. It suggests that anyone with concerns should contact the platform hosting the activity or report it to the police or Action Fraud.
Gerald Oppenheim, Chief Executive of the Fundraising Regulator said:
“Charities perform vital work in this country and overseas, and we are keen to ensure that the steadfast generosity of the British public continues to be channelled into where it is needed most. Amid the cost-of-living crisis, where charities and personal budgets are tight, people must feel confident that their donations are going to where they are intended.
“Although fraudsters remain inventive, by following some simple checks you can reduce your chances of falling victim to fraud and help ensure that charities continue to receive the donations they need to carry out their essential work.”
From January to November 2022, 408 reports of charity fraud were made to Action Fraud, with a total reported loss of £2.3 million – which is a 44% increase from last year (£1.6 million).