Residents urged to follow simple steps to avoid charity scammers

Date published: 14 March 2019

Charity Commission – the charity regulator – has issued advice to help people ensure they continue giving safely to genuine registered charities.

Although charity scams are small in number, the charity sector generates an annual income of nearly £75 billion, making it an attractive target for criminals.

Helen Stephenson, CEO of the Charity Commission: “It is vital that communities continue to support genuine charities; thousands of charities and causes in and beyond the north west depend on that generosity.

“By making simple checks before giving, you can make sure your donations reach the intended cause, and help the thousands of charities based in Greater Manchester and beyond thrive.

“I want us all to become more savvy, smart donors: making checks before you hand over your money or your details is an important first step.”

The Charity Commission’s online charity register allows the public to access key information about registered charities, including how they spend their money, what they do, and who their trustees are. 


  • Check the charity’s name and registration number: Most charities with an annual income of £5,000 or more must be registered.
  • Ask the collector for more information if in doubt.
  • Never feel under pressure by a fundraiser into making a donation immediately.
  • Exercise the same caution every time you're looking to support or donate to a charity.

Street fundraising and clothes collections

  • Check whether street collectors are wearing a proper ID badge and that any collection tin is sealed and undamaged.
  • Contact the charity that you’re seeking to donate to or work with to find out more about their spending.
  • Carefully review collection bags for clothing and household goods to ascertain whether they are from a genuine charity.
  • Check whether fundraising materials are genuine. They should feature the charity’s name, registered name and a landline contact number.

Online fundraising

  • Be careful when responding to emails or clicking on links within them.
  • Make sure the charity is genuine before sharing personal or financial information.

Last year an average of four cases of charity fraud were reported to Action Fraud in the north west every month. The Commission urges individuals to make the appropriate checks, and if you think that a collection or appeal is not legitimate, report it to the police.

If you think the collection is fraudulent report it to Action Fraud through their website or call them on 0300 123 2040.

If you think a collector does not have a licence, report it to the council’s premises licencing team. Also let the charity and Action Fraud know if you can.

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