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Scottish consumers warned of bogus charity bag collectors

Scottish consumers warned of bogus charity bag collectors

The (FRSB) and the Institute of Fundraising Scotland (IoFS) are running a ‘Give With Care’ campaign in this week, urging the public to be careful when donating clothing and unwanted goods to charity. The campaign aims to warn the public of bogus collectors, a problem that is estimated to cost UK charities up to £50 million a year in lost income.

Charity collections collections raise an estimated £250 million for UK charities each year. Some charities collect goods themselves, others, particularly smaller charities and those without the necessary infrastructure or reach, use commercial participators to collect on their behalf.

The ‘Give With Care’ campaign highlights the need to keep on donating goods, advising the public of a few simple checks they can make to ensure they are donating to legitimate charity collections.

The campaign is supported by Clothes Aid, the largest commercial clothing collection company in the UK. A social business. Clothes Aid passes all profits to the charity partners it works, such as the NSPCC, or they are reinvested in the business for further growth.

The campaign will distribute 180,000 leaflets to households across Scotland over the next three weeks, and it will engage the support of Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) in delivering its message to residents in their constituencies.

The ‘Give With Care’ campaign offers this advice for the donating public:

• Keep giving – beneficiaries need you to donate goods that charities can sell on. Use the following checks before you give to doorstep collectors

• Check – legitimate charitable collectors will display a Scottish charity number on their literature- it begins with SC0. The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator will be able to confirm if a collector is working on behalf of a registered charity – www.oscr.org.uk and 01382 220446

• Check again – look for the FRSB’s “tick” logo showing the charity has signed up to high standards and regular monitoring

• Phone: a legitimate collector would leave a working telephone number for you to check they are collecting in your area

• Some collectors may not be registered charities but still collect for legitimate good causes in your area. Bogus collectors will often promote vague causes rather than specific charities or local good causes

There are two types of criminal activity around charity doorstep collections: theft of bags and bogus or fraudulent collections that falsely claim to be raising money for charitable causes. The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (FRIB) affirms that bogus collections are carried out by organised criminals, with links to money laundering, human trafficking and serious violent offences. Both charity bag theft and bogus collections have increased substantially in recent years.

Alistair McLean, Chief Executive the Fundraising Standards Board, said: “We have seen a 100% increase in complaints about bogus goods collections over the past year as supporters query suspicious collections and express their confusion about which collections are legitimate. The problem has now become so widespread that charities are losing many millions each year and public confidence in this form of giving has taken a battering. It is crucial to protect this income stream for charities, reassuring the public that they can give confidently to the charities they care about and how, with some simple checks, they can make sure that their donations are going just where they want them to.”

www.givewithconfidence.org.uk

Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.

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