1. Before giving, check the charity’s name and registration number. You can verify this at the Charity Commission’s website. The charity’s profile shows whether or not the organisation is up to date with its annual reporting requirements.
2. When approached by collectors, check whether they are wearing a proper ID badge and that any collection tin is sealed.
3. If in doubt, ask the collector for more information – a genuine fundraiser should be happy to answer questions and explain more about the work of the charity.
4. 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.
5. Look for the FRSB tick logo indicating that the charity is signed up to fundraising regulation, encouraging you to give with confidence.
6. To check whether a fundraiser is authorised to collect money in a public place, contact your local authority or, if in London, the police. If it is a private place, check with the owner.
7. Take care when responding to emails or clicking links to a charity’s website to ensure that they are genuine. Instead, search online for your favourite charity to check you have the right web address.
8. Carefully review collection bags for clothing and household goods to ascertain whether they are from a genuine charity.
9. After making these checks, if you think that a collection or appeal is not legitimate, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 and inform the Charity Commission.
10. If in any doubt, contact your favoured charity direct to make a donation.
Photo: Christmas collecting tin by Chris Brignell on Shutterstock.com