Check that the charity is genuine
You can do this by checking its registration details on the Charity Commission website (charity-commission.gov.uk). Everything the charity produces - from plastic collection bags to money envelopes - should include these details so be very wary if you can’t find them.
And remember, people collecting for a genuine charity must carry legitimate ID. Don’t be embarrassed to ask to see it and be suspicious if they refuse.
Even if you can see logos on the collection bucket or canister, don’t assume they are genuine. Ring the charity directly for confirmation or contact your local authority or police station to check that the collector has a proper licence.
If you think you've been scammed get in touch by leaving a comment below, or email us on email@example.com and let us know exactly what has happened.
Stay safe online
Always be suspicious of unsolicited emails containing links to external websites within the body of the text. If you click on these you may be directed to a convincing-looking but bogus website that will not only steal your donation but also use your harvested payment card details to buy other goods and services. This is known as ‘phishing’.
Keep antivirus and firewall software up-to-date. Most programs now include anti-phishing website screening and will block links within emails automatically as a security precaution.
And watch out for poor grammar and spelling in emails and printed material. This is often an indication that foreign fraudsters are at work.
Send your donation direct to the charity without using middlemen. You can do this by donating on the charity’s official website or at your local bank branch. To donate at your bank, you will need the the recipient’s Registered Charity number.
If you think you’ve been the victim of charity fraud, report it to Action Fraud (actionfraud.org.uk/report_fraud).