Safe festive giving campaign launches amid rising charity fraud losses

The Fundraising Regulator, Charity Commission and Action Fraud have launched a joint safe giving campaign among donors this Christmas.

The campaign has been launched after figures from Action Fraud found there were 408 reports of charity fraud totally £2.3m from January to November this year.

This is a 44% increase on last year’s figures when £1.6m losses were reported over the same period.

The public is being urged to take simple steps before giving, including checking the charity’s details on the Charity Register to ensure it is legitimate as well as look for the Fundraising Regulator’s registration badge on the charity’s website and other promotion.

“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,” said Action Fraud head Pauline Smith.

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

Donors should also ask charities for more information about the cause they are raising funds for. “Legitimate causes will be happy to respond,” states the campaign.

“Charities perform vital work in this country and overseas, and we are keen to ensure that the steadfast generosity of the British public continues to be channelled into where it is needed most,” said Fundraising Regulator chief executive Gerald Oppenheim.

“Amid the cost-of-living crisis, where charities and personal budgets are tight, people must feel confident that their donations are going to where they are intended.

“Although fraudsters remain inventive, by following some simple checks you can reduce your chances of falling victim to fraud and help ensure that charities continue to receive the donations they need to carry out their essential work.”

The campaign acknowledges the importance of vigilance among donors particularly “against a backdrop of rising energy and food bills and real-term wage falls”.

Charity Commission communications and policy director Paul Latham added: “These are difficult times for many households, and indeed for charities that rely on people’s generosity.

“We know not everyone will be able to give to charity this Christmas, but those that do will want to make sure that their donations reach the end cause and make a positive difference.

“We’re therefore calling on donors to undertake simple checks to ensure they can continue to give safely, and with confidence.”

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