How to spot a bogus charity bag collection

The public is being encouraged to look out for bogus charity clothing collections in an effort to tackle a problem that is estimated to cost UK charities up to £50 million a year in lost income.
The Bogus Bags campaign is being run by the Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB) and is supported by the Institute of Fundraising, Charity Retail Association and Textile Recycling Association.
The campaign is designed to help people distinguish between legitimate and fraudulent collections, encouraging them to give with confidence to genuine UK charities.
The campaign was launched by Tracey Crouch MP in her Chatham and Aylesford constituency in Kent, and she has already been joined by several other MPs keen to act as advocates for the campaign in their areas. The campaign will be extended across key crime hotspots throughout England and Wales between now and February 2012.
Tracey Crouch MP said: “Having been on the receiving end of a bogus bag myself, I am all too aware of the scale of this problem. Not only is this a crime against local householders, but charities are losing out on millions in lost income each year – money that is desperately needed. I am calling on residents to make a few simple checks so that you can give with confidence to the charities that so desperately need our support”.
Alistair McLean, Chief Executive of the Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB), added that people should remember that the large majority of charity collections are legitimate. He said: “It is a delicate message to get right. The last thing we want to do is put people off giving, but if we don’t act soon to inform donors what to look for and make life harder for bogus collectors, public mistrust will spread and may impact
other forms of giving.”
The campaign consists of a local press campaign, delivered through local MPs and local authorities, and a public awareness leaflet that will be distributed to a target of 500,000 households.

How to spot a bogus bag

The Bogus Bags campaign offers the following advice before donating goods through a household collection :
* Check – Legitimate charity collection bags will clearly state what organisation(s) funds are being raised for and feature a registered charity number. Check these details with the Charity Commission.
* Look for the tick – As with any fundraising appeal, you can look for the FRSB tick logo indicating that the charity is signed up to fundraising regulation and to industry standards.
* Call – A legitimate collection should include a working landline telephone number for you to call. Call this or your local council to query the collection.
* Report – After making these checks, if you think that a collection is not legitimate, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit www.actionfraud.org.uk.
This campaign follows the success of the recent Give With Care campaign in Scotland (led by the Institute of Fundraising and the FRSB) during September and October which engaged the support of more than 20% of MSPs and saw the delivery of 180,000 leaflets across Scotland, supported by ClothesAid.
www.givewithconfidence.org.uk

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