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Avoid charity fraud

Many people want to donate to charity but it’s important to take some simple steps to make sure what you give gets to those you want to help. Sadly, criminals have historically exploited charitable giving by setting up fake charities and encouraging donations which are not passed onto the needy.

The following advice aims to raise awareness about safe ways to donate to charity and to ensure your money reaches those in need.

How to donate safely

It’s essential the public continues to support charities, but there are a few things to think about before donating:

  • Be careful when responding to emails or clicking links within them. Don’t click through on any links from suspicious looking emails. If you want to donate online, type in the charity’s website address from your homepage
  • Be cautious of poor grammar and spelling in documentation, including collection envelopes or clothing bags
  • If you have any concerns about the legitimacy of a request for donations, don’t hesitate to contact that charity directly. Be wary of any appeals where contact details for the charity are not provided. You can find genuine contact details for charities on their websites or on the Register of Charities, which is available on the Charity Commission website www.charitycommission.gov.uk
  • If you are concerned that you may have been targeted by a fundraising scam, report it to Action Fraud www.actionfraud.org.uk and the police on 101

How can I be sure that a charity collector is genuine?

The Charity Commission strongly recommends that all collectors should:

  • Be able to produce a valid local authority or police licence
  • Wear an ID badge
  • Have a sealed collection container with the charity’s registration number and name on it
  • Be able to provide that they have the charity’s permission to collect

If you are still doubtful about the collector:

  • Contact the Charity Commission – either via their helpline on 0845 300 0218 or www.charitycommssion.gov.uk
  • Contact your local authority or police to check whether the collector has been granted a licence or needs one to collect
  • Above all, don’t feel pressurised – send your donation to the charity direct.  This many mean going to a little more trouble, but at least you can be sure that your donation will get to where it’s intended.

Report concerns about charity fraud using the non-emergency 101 number. Use 999 if a crime is in progress or life is at risk.

To speak to our crime prevention team about protecting against charity fraud email crimeprevention@northants.pnn.police.uk

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