Mark Jenkinson, MP for the Workington constituency is urging people to check before giving to help ensure their donations reach genuine charities this Christmas.
Action Fraud, the Charity Commission, and the Fundraising Regulator, have warned that while the vast majority of fundraising appeals and collections are genuine, criminals can set up fake charities, or even impersonate well-known charitable organisations, to deceive victims.
With Action Fraud and the charity regulators, Mark Jenkinson MP is urging everyone to follow some simple steps to ensure they have a #FraudFreeXmas this year.
Mark Jenkinson MP, said:
“I have been heartened and encouraged to witness the generous community spirit that people across my constituency have demonstrated throughout this year. From looking out for vulnerable neighbours and friends to making donations to local charities, assisting those less fortunate through the pandemic
There are so many registered good causes, coupled with a huge amount of generosity in Workington, I am keen that my constituents do not become victims of fraud.”
The Charity Commission has previously warned that the pandemic has created more fertile ground for fraudsters. Action Fraud reported earlier this year that it had received reports of a scam email, purporting to be from HM Government, asking for donations to the NHS as part of a ‘nationwide appeal in efforts against coronavirus’.
The following steps can be taken to make sure your donations go to the right place:
- Make sure the charity is genuine before giving any financial information. Look for the registered charity number on their website. You can check the charity name and registration number at https://www.gov.uk/find-charity-information.
- You can also check if a charity is registered with the Fundraising Regulator. All charities registered here have made a commitment to good fundraising practice: https://www.fundraisingregulator.org.uk/directory.
- If you’re approached by a collector on the street or at your door, ask to see the collector’s ID badge. You can also check whether the collector has a licence to fundraise with the local authority, or has the consent of the private site owner.
- Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails, and never respond to unsolicited messages and phone calls that ask for your personal or financial details – even if it’s in the name of a charity.
- To donate online, type in the address of the charity website yourself rather than clicking on a link. If in any doubt, contact the charity directly about donating.
- Be cautious when donating to an online fundraising page. Fake fundraising pages will often be badly written or have spelling mistakes. When donating to an online fundraising page, only donate to fundraising pages created by someone you know and trust.
After making these checks, if you think that a fundraising appeal or collection is fake, report it to Action Fraud online at actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.