Charity sector loses £1.6m amid increase in cyber crime

Charities have lost £1.6m to online charity fraud over the last year, according to latest data.

This is up by 16% on the previous year’s figures.

Action Fraud has revealed the latest online charity fraud statistics as it links up with the Fundraising Regulator, the Charity Commission and National Trading Standards to warn the public to ensure they give safely online to good causes this Christmas.

Their public online safety campaign urges people to ensure they check charity’s authenticity via the Charity Commission’s register.

Another check being promoted is to find out whether charities are signed up to the Fundraising Regulator’s directory.

Scams include asking for donations for non-existent charities as well as the fraudulent collection of funds meant for genuine good causes.

“Charities work tirelessly all year round to help those in greatest need,” said Action Fraud director Pauline Smith.

“Sadly, criminals will try to abuse the generosity and goodwill of others and this can have a huge financial impact on charities and the causes they support.

“We would encourage people not to be put off donating to charities, but to follow a few simple steps to ensure your donations don’t end up in the wrong hands this Christmas.

“Make sure you do your research before donating to ensure you’re giving your money to a legitimate charity this Christmas.”

Fundraising Regulator chief executive Gerald Oppenheim added: “The British public is always exceedingly generous when giving to charity, and we want to make sure that they can continue to do so, safe in the knowledge that their donation is going to its intended cause.

“Just a few simple steps – including looking out for the Fundraising Badge, which means a charity has committed to best practice – will help the general public to make informed decisions when donating to good causes, and we are pleased to be working closely with other regulators to deliver this important message.”

Last month Action Fraud revealed that charities lost more than £8.5m to fraud, including cyber crime, from April 2020 to March 2021. But the Charity Commission warned that the figures could be higher as fraud is known to be under reported.

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