Scam of the week: beware the charity scam

A new charity scam is on the horizon, Moneywise has learned.

Our readers have alerted us to a scam whereby criminals will cold call you, pretending they are calling on behalf of a charity.

They will then request you sign up to a monthly donation direct debit to make regular payments. However, when asking them to confirm the name of the charity and its contact details the line goes dead - a clear sign you've been dealing with a fraudster.

While charities regularly cold call people to try to raise more money, unfortunately, fraudsters have been copping onto this to try to take advantage of people's goodwill.

If you think you've been scammed, get in touch by leaving a comment below or emailing us on and let us know exactly what has happened.

Always check

So how can you tell if it's a scam or not?

If you are unsure whether a caller is genuine or not, you can always phone the charity back on a known phone number listed in the phone book or on its website.

Also, any legitimate charity should be more than happy to tell you its charity registration number and its address.

All charities have to be registered with the Charity Commission - which you can call on its helpline 0845 300 0218 or by visiting to check whether a charity is authentic or not.

Whatever you do, don't give out your personal information and bank details to make a regular donation unless you are completely certain the charity you are talking to is genuine.

If you have been a victim of charity fraud, you should contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Your Comments

I have 3 standing orders to various charities and if any of their professional fundraisers phone me to try to get more out of me I tell them that they are lazy and should be trying to get NEW donors.
I also tell them that I feel strongly about this and will cancel their standing order if they do it again. Very humble apologies usually result!

Not all charities are required to register with the Charity Commission because some are exempt. Typical "exempt" charities include religious charities and universities.

As a charity fundraiser, I am a little confused by this.   When setting up a direct debit, all the charity will ask for is your bank's sort code and your account number, as well as checking your name and address.   IT IS IMPOSSIBLE to take money out of any account from just this information - this information, after all, is on every cheque you use.   You DO NOT need to give your card's long number or your card's secuity code to set up a direct debit - don't give those if you are asked for them because then a fraudster CAN take money from your account!   Charities simply do not need those details in order to set up a direct debit.