Fraudsters exploit public generosity during crisis with fake charity scams
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Fraudsters are trying to capitalise on public generosity during the coronavirus pandemic by setting up fake funds and pretending to be established charities.
Suffolk County Council said its Trading Standards department had received reports of scammers masquerading as official charities to take advantage of people’s kindness during the crisis.
Authorities warned the public to be vigilant against bogus campaigns – without being put off giving to genuinely good causes.
In a daily briefing on the national and local response to the outbreak of Covid-19, Suffolk County Council said: “Suffolk Trading Standards have become aware that some fraudsters are taking advantage of the increase in charity donations made during the coronavirus outbreak.
“They can set up fake charities or impersonate well-known charity names.
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“The risk of fraud should not put you off giving to charities. They do really important work, helping those in the greatest need.
“However, everyone should be vigilant and make sure you are giving safely to legitimate organisations.”
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The Fundraising Regulator and Charity Commission for England and Wales has published advice around ensuring charities are genuine before sharing any personal or financial information.
You can check a the charity name and registration number at gov.uk/checkcharity.
You can also check if a charity is registered with the Fundraising Regulator as committed to good practice at fundraisingregulator.org.uk/directory.
Do not click on links or attachments in suspicious emails, and never respond to unsolicited messages and calls asking for personal or financial details.
Make sure the charity is genuine before giving any financial information.
Look for the registered charity number on its website and beware of advertisements featuring only a mobile contact number.
To donate online, type in the charity website address rather than clicking on a link.
Ignore requests to donate through a money transfer company.
Be more cautious about fundraising appeals with generic wording, such as ‘to help people with Covid-19’.
If you think a fundraising appeal is fake, report it to Action Fraud.