Donors are being warned to be on the guard against bogus emails from charities, which are increasingly becoming “an attractive target to criminals”, according to the Charity Commission.
The regulator is concerned about the threat charities are facing
from criminal gangs who are looking to exploit the voluntary sector’s annual income of more than £76 billion.
“Giving to charity is a longstanding and important tradition and we welcome the public’s generosity in their support for charities,” says the Charity Commission statement
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“We want to ensure that generous donations do not end up in the wrong hands. We want to make sure that charity continues to thrive and inspire trust so that people can improve lives and strengthen society.
“As regulator, we want everyone to make important checks before they give, so that they feel empowered and more confident at spotting and avoiding scams.
“Charity scams are small in number compared to how much is given safely, but the charity sector generates an annual income of over £76 billion making it an attractive target for criminals.”
Checking the online register
Advice includes ensuring that care is taken before responding to emails from charities or clicking on links. The public should check that the charity is genuine before responding by looking at the Charity Commission’s online register.
A register check can also help determine that fundraising materials are genuine.
The regulator also recommends that donors contact a charity they wish to donate to so that they can fund out more about its spending.
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Additional advice is to never feel under pressure to make a donation and to ensure that clothing collection bags and the identity of street collectors are checked.
Donors are urged to report suspicions about bogus charity activities to the police.
The Charity Commission is promoting the campaign using #SaferGiving
on social media and using the line “Ensure Your Donation Always Reaches The Right People".
The warning comes after it emerged that six out of ten organisations, including charities and businesses, have suffered a cyber attack
in the last year.
August’s Cyber Readiness Report found that 61 per cent of organisations had been attacked, up from 45 per cent the previous year.