Charity donation fraud is when fake charities play on your sympathy by asking you to make a donation to a worthy cause.
Unfortunately, fraudsters may take advantage of our generosity when giving to charity. They may claim to be raising money for a fake charity or impersonate a well-known charity.
Most fundraising appeals are genuine, so the risk of fraud should not put you off giving to charities. However, you should be vigilant and make sure you are giving safely to legitimate organisations.
- Check the charity name and registration number at uk/checkcharity.
- Look out for the
- Also check the Fundraising Regulator’s online Directory to see if a charity has committed to good fundraising practice at org.uk/directory.
- If you’re still unsure about giving, always ask the organisation for more information. Legitimate causes will be happy to respond and answer your questions.
Fundraising appeals with generic wording, such as ‘to help people with COVID-19’ should be approached with caution. An appeal should always be clear on exactly what the money will be used for.
When you meet a fundraiser in-person, check their credentials:
- Street collectors should wear an ID badge that is clearly visible.
- Any collection buckets should be sealed and undamaged. Most fundraising materials should feature a charity’s name, registration number and a landline phone number.
- If in doubt, ask for more information – a genuine fundraiser should be happy to answer your questions.
When giving online, make sure the charity is genuine before giving any financial information:
- Type in the charity website address yourself, rather than clicking on a link, and look for the registered charity number on the website.
- Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails.
- Never respond to unsolicited messages or calls that ask for your personal or financial details.
- Beware of any online advertisements that just feature a mobile number.
- Ignore requests to donate through a money transfer company as this is a popular scam.
- Only donate to online fundraising pages created by a person or organisation you know and trust. If in any doubt, contact the charity directly.
After making these checks, if you think that a fundraising appeal is fake, report it to Action Fraud. If you are based in Scotland, report to 101.