Regulator urges public to back registered charities amid fears of fraudsters

The Charity Commission has issued a reminder to the public to donate to registered charities amid fears of a rise in fraudsters.

The regulator's comments came as it urged the public to donate to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) appeal, which launched earlier in July to protect refugees in countries including Yemen, Somalia and Syria.

“It is vital at this unprecedented time of need around the world that donations reach their intended cause,” the regulator said.

“By supporting registered charities, including through the DEC, the public can be assured that their donations will be regulated in line with the charity law framework.”

It added that while most fundraising is genuine the charity sector is targeted by “fraudsters and criminals” who “may sometimes take advantage of public generosity at times of increased giving”. Methods criminals use include fake appeal websites and email appeals falsely using the name of charities.

Steps to ensure donations go to good causes include checking the charity’s name and registration number at the Charity Commission’s website. Most charities with an annual income of £5,000 or more must be registered.

"As shown in recent months, the British public are generous at times of crisis, and we want to see all charitable contributions count,” Charity Commission chief executive Helen Stephenson said.

“With many people already suffering around the world, I encourage people to follow our advice to ensure they give safely to genuine relief efforts. The Disasters Emergency Committee is well equipped to ensure that help reaches people in some of the world’s most fragile places at this critical time.”

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