24 Oct 2017 10:10 AM

Guest Blogger: Mark Bramah, Director of Ethica Solutions www.ethica-solutions.co.uk/investigations

Most times we leave our homes for the High Street, we will encounter a charity collector. Some will be from recognised, reputable organisations, supporting excellent causes. However, be aware there are equally the charlatans out there, operating as either individuals or organised criminals who will prey on your goodwill.

According to Portsmouth University's Annual Fraud Indicator 2016, Charities are losing up to £193billion a year in fraud. Part of this will come from street collections by criminals, who are not registered with The Charities Commission, and who often purport to be from well know honourable charities. On closer examination there will be a slight difference in the name of the charity the criminal is purporting to be.

How does it happen?

  • A criminal may pose as a collector for a charity they have made up or misuse a name of a reputable charity. They may claim to be taking part in an event that doesn’t exist, or that they are not taking part in
  • Collections relating to a recent disaster or topical matters in the news, may be misused by the fraudster
  • You may be asked to donate clothing, which is then sold by the fraudster and nothing is received by a charity they say they are collecting on behalf of.

What should you look out for?

  • Their promotional material is poor quality or contains grammatical errors
  • The collector is aggressive or reluctant to engage about the charity – appearing vague when asked specific questions
  • They may offer to show you identification which contain a false charity number, or is scant in details

How can you avoid falling victim to a fraudster charity collector?

  • Charities always need to be registered and have a licence if they are collecting in public. You can check this with The Charity Commission (consider using your Smart phone for a quick web search). Don’t look up websites given by the suspected fraudster, as they are likely to offer false information
  • Place a call to the charity and ask them for more details; of locations where they are collecting on that day, and their registration number
  • If you are in any doubt tell the collector that you will donate online, once you have been able to verify the charity

A massive amount of money is being lost by genuine charities as a result of fraudulent activity. The reality is that this will impact on the most vulnerable people in our society. To compound matters often fraudsters will use their proceeds to fund further unlawful activities and create further misery. A vigilant and sensible response to anything suspicious will help genuine charities to benefit from your generosity.

If you believe you have encountered a fraudulent charity please report it to: Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Mark Bramah, Ethica

Mark Bramah,

Director of Ethica Solutions

www.ethica-solutions.co.uk/investigations

Ethica Solutions provides investigation services in London and throughout the UK. The specialist team comprises former UK Police Officers with many years of investigative experience, it offers discreet and efficient preventive, investigation, evidence gathering and reporting, suited to a wide range of commercial, private and criminal matters, as well as crisis response and management