The Charity Commission and Action Fraud both work to prevent fraudsters from appropriating funds under the guise of charitable donations.
Charity scams can be simple: someone who poses as a street fundraiser for an existing charity and asking for donations from passersby or pretending to participate in a challenge on behalf of a charity and collecting sponsorship.
More complex fraud can take the form of a fraudster creating an entirely bogus charity and pocketing proceeds from fundraising.
As the regulator for all charities in England and Wales, the Charity Commission holds information on all current charities as well as those that have been struck off for not complying with the regulations required for operating a registered charity.
Charities and members of the public who are concerned about an organisation or an individual purporting to be involved in not for profit activities can report their concerns to the Charity Commission. However, if they are concerned that a fraud has been committed and that there has been a financial loss, they can also report their experience to Action Fraud.
As with other types of fraud, Action Fraud will collate any data and pass it on to enhance intelligence about these crimes. The Charity Commission list of registered charities is available online so that someone who suspects an organisation is fraudulent can immediately refer to the register and they can be reassured.
New guidance aims to safeguard charitable donations and encourage giving
Fraud watchdog the Fraud Advisory Panel has launched the UK's first independent guidance on how to make charitable donations safely.
‘Giving Safely: A guide to making sure your donations really count’ provides simple, practical advice on how to avoid potential scams and how to ensure that your donations really do reach the good causes you wish to support.
The guides can be downloaded below.