Campaign urges residents to support charities not crime

Published: 18 March 2014

Wandsworth Council is supporting a new London-wide campaign to make sure residents are not duped into donating money to bogus charity collections.

Most charity collections are genuine and legitimate, but in recent years several people have been convicted of fraudulent fundraising. Some collections are thought to be linked to organized crime, while others have been suspected of raising money for terrorist activity overseas.

The ‘Support Charity not Crime’ campaign which is being launched this week is designed to give Londoners the skills to identify genuine collections and the confidence to say no to ones they believe might be bogus.

Flyers are being distributed across the capital containing six key messages.

  • Before making a donation or accepting a collection tin, check the charity’s name and registration number at the Charity Commission's website.
  • Genuine fundraising materials should feature the charity’s name, registered name and a landline contact number. Be wary of those that list only a mobile number.
  • Look for the Fundraising Standards Board’s tick logo indicating that the charity is signed up to fundraising regulation, encouraging people to give with confidence.
  • When approached by collectors, check whether they have proper ID and that any collection tin is sealed.
  • In London fundraisers require a licence from the police to collect in a public place. Check that they have this. If the collection is in a privately owned place (including shopping centres and train stations), check that they have the owner’s permission.
  • If in doubt, ask the collector for more information - a genuine fundraiser will always be happy to answer questions and explain more about the work of the charity.

If after making these checks you think that a collection or appeal is not legitimate, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 and inform the Charity Commission.

Wandsworth’s community safety spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “Most collections and appeals will be quite legitimate and many people do want to make a donation to a charitable cause they support.

“However the uncomfortable truth is that some street collections are scams. In these instances people’s generosity may end up funding organised crime or even terrorist activity.

“This campaign is designed to make it harder for the criminals to pull the wool over people’s eyes and take advantage of the public’s generosity and kind-heartedness. The six key messages at the heart of this campaign can help prevent this.

“If people are in any doubt at all, they shouldn’t hand over any money. If they do want to support a particular good cause they can always make a donation online or over the phone later that day.

The campaign, which is being coordinated by the Home Office-backed London Prevent Network with support from the Metropolitan Police, the Charity Commission and most London boroughs, aims to reach one million Londoners.