Spot the signs of charity fraud

Most fundraising appeals are genuine, so the risk of fraud should not put you off giving to charities. However, you should be vigilant and make sure you are giving safely to legitimate organisations.

The Fundraising Regulator and Charity Commission for England and Wales advise you to pause and check before donating. This includes:

  • Check the charity name and registration number at
  • Look out for the Fundraising Badge on charity marketing materials – this is the logo that says, ‘registered with Fundraising Regulator’. When you see it, you can have confidence in a charity’s fundraising.
  • Also check the Fundraising Regulator’s online Directory to see if a charity has committed to good fundraising practice at
  • If you’re still unsure about giving, always ask the organisation for more information. Legitimate causes will be happy to respond and answer your questions.

Fundraising appeals with generic wording, such as ‘to help people during the cost of living crisis’ should be approached with caution. An appeal should always be clear on exactly what the money will be used for.

When you meet a fundraiser in-person, check their credentials:

  • Street collectors should wear an ID badge that is clearly visible.
  • Any collection buckets should be sealed and undamaged. Most fundraising materials should feature a charity’s name, registration number and a landline phone number.
  • If in doubt, ask for more information – a genuine fundraiser should be happy to answer your questions.

When giving online, make sure the charity is genuine before giving any financial information:

  • Type in the charity website address yourself, rather than clicking on a link, and look for the registered charity number on the website.
  • Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails.
  • Never respond to unsolicited messages or calls that ask for your personal or financial details.
  • Beware of any online advertisements that just feature a mobile number.
  • Ignore requests to donate through a money transfer company as this is a popular scam.
  • Only donate to online fundraising pages created by a person or organisation you know and trust. If in any doubt, contact the charity directly.
Every report matters

If you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, report it to Action Fraud on visit, or calling 0300 123 2040. 

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