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Top tips to avoid charity scams at Christmas time

Although the majority of charity collections are genuine there are some people who take advantage of other’s generosity especially at this time of year.

The Charity Commission have issued its top 10 tips for a charity scam-free Christmas and charities should bear these points in mind when setting up their own collections.

1. 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 http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk
. 2. Always check whether a collector is wearing a proper ID badge.
3. Check that the collecting tin seal is not damaged.
4. Ask the collector for more information – a genuine charity should be happy to answer questions.
5. 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.
6. If you receive collection bags or fundraising materials from non-charitable organisations claiming to be charitable, and/or using a false registered charity, you should contact the police, your local trading standards office and your local council.
7. If you want to donate online to a particular charity, visit the charity’s website – check that you have the right web address.
8. 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 appear to come from a charity, don’t hesitate to contact that charity directly.
9. If you are worried that you may have been targeted by a fundraising scam, you should contact the police. Let the Charity Commission know too through their website.
10. If in any doubt, send your donation directly to the charity.

 

 

Date: 17th December, 2010
Author: Wendy Bambrick

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