The Charity Commission has warned pub and party-goers to be on the look-out for bogus charity collectors trying to cash in on pre-Christmas generosity.
The Commission warns that “there will always be some people who take advantage of [the public’s seasonal] generosity to line their own pockets at the expense of charities”.
It is therefore offering tips to help ensure that the public can give confidently when approached in pubs, clubs and bars over Christmas.
The Commission encourages the public to ask collectors if they are collecting for a registered charity, and if so what is the registered charity number. People should ask the name of the charity and “be suspicious of someone who says they’re collecting for ‘sick kids’ or ‘the homeless at Christmas’.
Can the collector produce proof of a written agreement with the charity authorising them to collect on their behalf? A photocopied ‘thank you for your donation’ letter is not the same thing.
One potential warning sign is if the collector can only produce a registered company number, which simply means that the organisation is registered with Companies House.
The Commission says that “genuine charities will be happy to give you this information”. It concludes by advising that if the public is in any doubt, “save your money and make a donation directly to the charity of your choice.”