Stourbridge MP Suzanne Webb is urging people to check before giving money this Christmas to ensure their donations reach genuine charities.
Action Fraud, the Charity Commission, and the Fundraising Regulator, have warned criminals can set up fake charities, or even impersonate well-known charitable organisations, to deceive victims.
People can check if a charity is registered and genuine by visiting the Charity Commission’s register of charities. This year the pandemic has created more fertile ground for fraudsters and people need to be extra vigilant.
Action Fraud found that £350,000 of charitable donations were taken by unscrupulous means over the festive period last year.
“The covid emergency has generated an even greater need for charity fundraising and I know many people in Stourbridge give generously but we need to make sure these funds do not go into criminals’ pockets,” said Suzanne.
“There is no doubt the vast majority of fundraising appeals and collections are genuine, but there are those out there who want to prey on our good nature, particularly during the pandemic.
“If you are suspicious then go to the Charity’s Commission’s or gov.uk websites and check. That’s the best way to ensure you are supporting a genuine appeal."
Suzanne urged residents to check the identification of anyone who comes to their door or approaches them in the street for a donation. She also warned against clicking on links or attachments in suspicious emails, or responding to unsolicited messages and phone calls asking for personal or financial details, even if they seem to be from a charity.
Be extra cautious when donating to online fundraising pages too, she explained.
Chief Executive of the Charity Commission Helen Stephenson added: “Christmas is always a time of generous charitable giving, and that’s to be celebrated. This year it comes as charities face immense financial strain after heroic efforts to support some of society’s most vulnerable people through the pandemic.
“This means it’s more important than ever to ensure that when we reach into our pockets, our festive contributions don’t go astray. That’s why we’re urging everyone to give with their head as well as their heart and check before they give.”
https://www.gov.uk/find-charity-information is the link where people can check a charity's details.