Charity Commission launches mobile website to make donating safer
A new mobile website has been launched by the Charity Commission to make donating safer.
If people are in doubt about whether a charity is genuine, they will be able to look it up on the website, which holds the Commission’s register of over 180,000 charities. All charities with income over £5,000 are required to register with the Charity Commission, and if a charity is registered, it will be listed.
The website also holds information on the activities of charities and the areas in which they work, so that people are provided with accurate information on how their donation will be used, and can be confident that it will reach its intended destination.
In addition, contact details for the charities will be on the website, so that people can contact the charity directly to check that a particular collection is genuine.
The Christmas period is a particularly busy time for charity fundraising, with collections taking place across the country. At this time of year it is crucial that people can be confident that the money they donate will be used as they intend.
Dame Suzi Leather, Chair of the Charity Commission, highlighted the importance of making sure money is going to a genuine registered charity. She also spoke of the risks of online giving: “In addition to double-checking details of street charity collections, I would also encourage people making donations to watch out for email scams and fake websites. If you are suspicious of any appeals for donations, always check the charity registration number on the Charity Commission site or contact the charity directly.”
The Charity Commission has issued the following tips for avoiding charity scams:
- If you are in any doubt about a charity collector, collection bag or fundraising materials, check the charity's name and registration number. You can find these on the Charity Commission's website at www.charitycommission.gov.uk, or on the mobile version of the site http://m.charitycommission.gov.uk which makes it really easy to check this on your phone when you're on the move.
- Always check whether a collector is wearing a proper ID badge.
- Check that the collecting tin seal is not damaged.
- Ask the collector for more information - a genuine charity should be happy to answer questions.
- Check whether a collector has authority to collect. A permit or license is usually needed if raising money in a public place. Collections in private places like train stations and supermarkets need the owner's or manager's permission. Collections in pubs need either a license or an exemption.
- If you receive collection bags or fundraising materials from non-charitable organisations claiming to be charitable, and/or using a false registered charity number, you should contact the police, your local trading standards office, the Advertising Standards Agency or your local council.
- If you want to donate online to a particular charity, visit the charity's website - check that you have the right web address.
- Be very careful when responding to emails or clicking links within them to ensure that they are genuine. If you have any concerns about a request for donations that appears to come from a charity, don't hesitate to contact that charity directly.
- If you are worried that you may have been targeted by a fundraising scam, you should contact the police and inform the Charity Commission through its website.
- If in any doubt, send your donation directly to the charity.
Date: 21st December, 2011
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