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Charity donation fraud

What it is

When fake charity collectors prey on your sympathy by asking you to make a donation to a worthy cause.

Protect yourself

  • Charities always need to be registered and have a license if they’re collecting in a public place. Check they’re authentic with the Charity Commission.
  • If the charity is genuine, check the collection is authorised, too. Call the charity directly or look them up using a phone book or a website (don’t accept websites or numbers provided by a collector).
  • If in doubt, tell the collector you’ll donate directly to the charity yourself .

Spot the signs

  • Their promotional material or website is badly written or has spelling mistakes.
  • The collector is aggressive or intimidating, or uses excuses to explain why their collection is legitimate, such as showing fake ID or falsified documents.
  • They’re using topical events, such as a natural disaster, to make it look like their charity has been created only recently in response.

How it happens

A fraudster will either pose as a collector for a charity they’ve made up, or they misuse the name of a genuine, often well-known, charity. They may be collecting sponsorship money for an event that they won't take part in or doesn't even exist. In any of these cases, the money you donate doesn’t go to charity; the fraudsters keep it for themselves.

You may be given the address of a fake website, where the fraudsters record your credit or bank account details when you go to a donation page.

Alternatively you may be asked to call a phone number. It could be a premium rate number, taking even more of your money on top of your donation.

If you’re asked to donate clothing or household items, fraudsters sell them on but keep the money rather than giving it to people in need.

How to report it

If Fraud has been committed report it to Action Fraud. For more advice and to raise any concerns, contact the Office of the Public Guardian.

Source - Action Fraud

Date Published: Jul 21, 2018

Types of fraud

A-Z of fraud

To help understand which fraud you've been affected by, we've categorised them into an alphabetical list.

What is fraud and cyber crime?

Fraud is when trickery is used to gain a dishonest advantage, which is often financial, over another person.

Advance fee fraud

Advance fee fraud is when fraudsters target victims to make advance or upfront payments for goods, services and/or financial gains that do not materialise.

Corporate fraud

Corporate fraud can be any fraud committed against a business.

Individual fraud

Individual fraud could be any fraud that targets a person directly. Individual frauds can differ from frauds affecting businesses and other organisations.

Online fraud

Some fraudsters rely on the internet to commit their crimes. Learn about some different types of internet frauds that and how to protect yourself and get safe online.

Identity fraud and identity theft

Identity theft is when your personal details are stolen and identity fraud is when those details are used to commit fraud.
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