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How to stay safe when giving to charity

Written by: Emma Lunn
The Charity Commission is encouraging the public to “give with their heads as well their hearts” in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday.

The charity regulator has issued advice to people who want to give to a good cause without being ripped off. Brits typically donate millions of pounds to charity every year during November, particularly around Remembrance Sunday on 11 November.

The Charity Commission says that while the overwhelming majority of charity collectors are legitimate, public generosity is such that the sector can be a target for criminals. The regulator therefore wants to ensure that the public know how to give confidently to registered charities if they are donating to organisations which support the armed forces.

Helen Stephenson, chief executive of the Charity Commission, said: “Giving to charity is an important way in which so many of us remember the sacrifices of serving and former armed forces. As we collectively mark 100 years of remembrance, we as regulator want to help ensure that the public know how to ensure that their donations reach those in need.

“That’s why I am encouraging people to give with their heads as well as their hearts. By making simple checks part of the routine of donating, we can all become smarter donors, and together help protect and promote public trust in the charity sector.”

The regulator’s recommendations

  • Check a charity’s name and registration number at
  • Make sure the charity is genuine before giving any financial information
  • Be careful when responding to emails or clicking on links within them
  • Check whether street collectors are wearing a proper ID badge and that any collection tin is sealed and undamaged
  • Ask the collector for more information if in doubt
  • Check whether fundraising materials are genuine. They should feature the charity’s name, registered number and a landline contact number

Reporting suspicious activity

After making these checks, if you think that a collection or appeal is not legitimate, you should report it to the police. You can also complain about a charity to the Charity Commission and the Fundraising Regulator.

If you think a collection is fraudulent report it to Action Fraud through its website or on 0300 123 2040.

If you think a collector doesn’t have a licence you should report it to the relevant local authority licensing team.

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