New fraud guidance helps public to give safely
Charities do vital work. They need our donations. But charities and their supporters are also targets for criminals. Fraudsters eagerly exploit our trust and compassion to steal donations and undermine the important work that charities do.
As part of National Charity Fraud Awareness Week the Fraud Advisory Panel has joined forces with police, regulators and other stakeholders to issue simple fraud prevention advice for anyone wanting to donate on the doorstep, on the street or online, helping donors make sure their money really does reach those who need it.
David Kirk, Chairman of the Fraud Advisory Panel said: “The vast majority of fundraising activities are legitimate but fraudsters are expert at hijacking our kindness and diverting our charitable donations into their pockets. Cruelly, they are especially active during a crisis or tragedy. But making sure our donations really do reach the causes we care about is easier than most people realise. For example:
- Ignore unsolicited emails, texts or social media messages/posts from charities you’ve never heard of or have no association with.
- Protect your personal information – never reveal passwords or PINs.
- Watch out for tell-tale signs like spelling or grammar mistakes in the literature, photocopied IDs and unsealed collection buckets.
- Don’t feel under pressure – take your time to make a considered, informed decision.”
The Fraud Advisory Panel, Get Safe Online and GoFundMe have also simultaneously released five tips for donating safely through crowdfunding sites.
Kirk explains that it is vital we don’t simply stop giving: “Charities need our support more than ever in these difficult times. But we can all keep donating and make life a lot harder for the charity fraudster by taking the straightforward precautions listed in this new guide.”
Contact: Kirsty Howe at the ICAEW press office on +44 (0)20 7920 3514 or email Kirsty.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes for editors:
- Giving safely: a guide to making donations to UK charities is available from: https://www.fraudadvisorypanel.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Giving-Safely-WEB-Oct17.pdf
- The guidance has been produced in partnership with Action Fraud, Charity Commission for England and Wales, Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, City of London Police, Fundraising Regulator, Get Safe Online, Institute of Fundraising, Metropolitan Police Service, National Trading Standards Scams Team, Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator, Police Scotland, PSNI, Scottish Fundraising Standards Panel, Take Five and Victim Support.
- Giving safely through crowdfunding is available from: https://www.fraudadvisorypanel.org/resources/guide-donating-crowdfunding-sites
- Charity Fraud Awareness Week (23 – 27 October) is being co-ordinated by the Charity Commission for England and Wales and the Fraud Advisory Panel in partnership/coalition with the Charities Against Fraud For more information visit: https://www.fraudadvisorypanel.org/charity-fraud/get-involved/
- The Fraud Advisory Panel is the UK’s leading counter--fraud charity. We bring together fraud professionals from all sectors and disciplines to improve fraud resilience across the UK and around the world. The Panel was established in 1998 by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) which continues to provide valuable support. fraudadvisorypanel.org
24 October 2017
The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland is joining forces with over 40 charities, regulators and professional bodies to combat fraud targeted against charities, as part of National Charity Fraud Awareness Week (23 – 27 October).
Frances McCandless, Commission Chief Executive, commented: “According to estimates, charity fraud is costing the UK as much as £2billion a year. However, while that is the big picture, even a small amount can have a devastating impact on a charity.
“No one wants to think their well-meant donation to a good cause has ended up in the pocket of fraudsters, and in today’s economy every penny a charity receives counts.
“That’s why we are supporting Charity Fraud Awareness Week, encouraging charities to have the processes in place to identify and tackle fraud in all its forms, from cyber security to fundraising fraud.”
Charity Fraud Awareness Week aims to help charities limit their fraud risks and ensure that charity trustees, staff and volunteers, as well as their donors and supporters, can recognise the warning signs.
The Commission is playing its part by encouraging everyone to:
- LOOK OUT for the warning signs of fraud,
- LISTEN OUT for good fraud prevention ideas and advice and share them widely, and
- SPEAK OUT if you see something suspicious and report your concerns to Action Fraud.
Donors are also reminded to check that a charity is known to the Commission by checking the online register of Northern Ireland charities or, if the charity is not yet registered, the Commission’s public registration list.
And, if you become aware of fraud in a charity, Myles McKeown, the Commission’s Compliance and Enquiries manager has issued advice on what you should do.
“While fraud is ultimately a matter for the police to investigate, as the charity regulator, Northern Ireland charities should make us aware where a serious incident such as fraud has occurred,” he said.
“We will be publishing our new serious incident reporting guidance very soon, highlighting when, and how, charity trustees must report serious incidents within the charity to the Commission.”
For further information on the charity Commission for Northern contact Shirley Kernan on email@example.com
Notes to editors
The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland is the regulator of charities in Northern Ireland. For more information on the Commission visit www.charitycommisisonni.org.uk
For more information on National Charity Fraud Awareness Week visit www.fraudadvisorypanel.org/charity-fraud/charity-fraud-awareness-week/
The week is being co-ordinated by the UK’s leading counter-fraud charity Fraud Advisory Panel (established by ICAEW) and the Charity Commission for England and Wales under the auspices of the Charities Against Fraud partnership.
The Charities Against Fraud partnership comprises over 40 charities, professional representative bodies and other not-for-profit stakeholders working together to combat fraud targeted against charities. This includes the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, Fraud Advisory Panel, ICAEW, NCVO, Institute of Fundraising and the Foundation for Social Investment as well as charities such as Oxfam, Macmillan, British Council and Help for Heroes.
19 October 2017
The second national Charity Fraud Awareness Week (23 – 27 October) will see a coalition of approximately 40 organisations – including charities, regulators, professional bodies and others – join forces to fight fraud and make the charity sector more resilient to fraud.
Coalition partners will work together closely to raise awareness of the key risks facing charities, promote and share good counter-fraud practices, and improve fraud responses overall by encouraging organisations to be more open about their experiences when fraud does strike.
A suite of dedicated e-learning resources have been specifically created for the week focused on specific risk areas including insider fraud, fundraising fraud and cyber-fraud. These will be released on the campaign website at 9.30am each day.
The week is being launched at an event in the City of London on Monday 23 October. Speakers include the Chief Executive of the Charity Commission and Detective Chief Inspector Andy Fyfe from the City of London Police. There will be a drop-in centre at the event – providing free practical advice from experts at the City of London Police, Get Safe Online, Fraud Advisory Panel, Charity Commission and Crowe Clark Whitehill on how to prevent, detect and respond to fraud.
Helen Stephenson, Chief Executive at the Charity Commission said: “There’s no evidence that charities are more or less vulnerable to fraud than other organisations, but the impact of fraud on charities can be devastating. It can not only jeopardise the essential services they provide, but also cause reputational damage and affect morale amongst staff and volunteers. That’s why protecting donors and charities from fraudsters who are prepared to misuse valuable charity funds is a key priority for the Commission. It’s vital that everyone, working with or in a charity, plays their part in the fight against fraud, by staying alert and speaking out if they have concerns.”
David Kirk, chairman of the Fraud Advisory Panel said: “The progress made in improving fraud awareness and resilience in the charity and voluntary sectors over the past decade has been excellent. We now see a much greater and more widespread awareness and willingness to talk about fraud. But, as ever with fraud, there remains plenty more that we all need to do to fight this shape-shifting menace. Charity Fraud Awareness Week brings together so many charities in a collective effort to help stamp out charity fraud wherever we find it.”
Lucy Sandford, the City of London Voluntary Sector Forum’s development manager, said: “In these times of increasing pressures on services and budgets the key messages and activities of Charity Fraud Awareness Week are essential learning for all charities. It is important that charities remain vigilant to fraud threats; that good practice is maximised; that staff and supporters are protected; and that everyone knows how and where to access the information and support they need. We, at the City of London Voluntary Sector Forum, are delighted to be able to jointly host this important event.”
More information – including a full supporter’s pack – can be found on the Fraud Advisory Panel’s website.
Notes to editors
Charity Fraud Awareness Week is being co-ordinated by the Charity Commission for England and Wales and the Fraud Advisory Panel (established by ICAEW), in partnership/coalition with the Charities Against Fraud The Charities Against Fraud partnership comprises approximately 40 charities, professional representative bodies and other not-for-profit stakeholders working together to combat fraud targeted against charities. This includes the Charity Commission, Fraud Advisory Panel, ICAEW, CFG, NCVO, Institute of Fundraising and the Foundation for Social Investment as well as charities such as Oxfam, Macmillan, British Council and Help for Heroes.
The launch event is being held at The City Centre, 80 Basinghall Street, London, EC2V 5AG from 9am-12 noon on Monday 23 October. If you would like to attend the launch event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following e-resources will be launched during the week:
Monday 23 October – Building a counter fraud culture (British Council and CFG)
Tuesday 24 October –bribery and corruption (British Council)
Wednesday 25 October –cyber-fraud (Charity Commission) and identity fraud (Cifas)
Thursday 26 October - fundraising fraud (Institute of Fundraising)
Friday 27 October –insider fraud ( CIFAS and Oxfam) and reporting fraud (Charity Commission)
For statistics on fraud and financial abuse, please visit the Commission’s report Tackling Abuse and Mismanagement.