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Charity fraud line

The crime-reporting line charity Crimestoppers has launched a Charity Fraud Line service to take information about charity fraud which is claimed to defraud registered charities in the UK of over £1 billion per year.

The Charity Fraud Line is a 24/7 service that helps to protect public donations to various charities from being misused. Its aim is to take information anonymously from those who have knowledge or well-grounded suspicion that a member of a charity, be it management, staff or volunteers, may be acting dishonestly and committing fraud.

Staff at charities who use the service can give information about those committing crimes on 08000 232 101 or www.charityfraudline.co.uk to help stop the misuse of public donations. All information given remains completely anonymous.

Research carried out by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), and contained in their Report to the Nations 2012, states that fraud is much more likely to be detected by information giving than by any other method with 43.3% of the initial detection of occupational frauds being first discovered following information giving. Crimestoppers is confident that this service will help reduce the amount of charity donations fraudulently used in the UK.

With 25 years’ experience as a charity dealing with anonymous information from members of the public, Crimestoppers already disseminates almost 100,000 pieces of information a year to law enforcement partners from its public facing service.

Crimestoppers Founder, Lord Ashcroft, KCMG, PC, said: “As a charity itself, Crimestoppers is pleased to be launching this new service and supporting other third sector bodies that are being subject to fraud which has a huge financial impact on the good causes they work hard towards.

“A few individuals working within charities across the UK are causing significant losses to the generous donations given to various organisations by the public. This is why we are taking a stand and bridging the gap between giving information on criminal activity taking place both inside and outside the workplace.

“These fraudulent acts need to stop. As usual all information given to us remains completely anonymous and no one will ever know that you contacted us.”

Crimestoppers Director of Business Development, Rodger Holden, said: “You don’t need to put up with fraud at work, especially within the charity sector where that fraud means that food and shelter as well as many other good causes are being deprived of individuals as funds donated to help them are being stolen through fraud.

“This new service for charity workers means that people who may be afraid to speak out to either a manager or to law enforcement to pass on information can contact the Charity Fraud Line anonymously and tell the trained agent exactly what they know without saying who they are. This information is passed to the right authority so that it can be investigated.”

The initiative is supported by the Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, and complements projects already in place, including the Voluntary Sector Fraud Group. Reporting serious incidents* to the Charity Commission is specifically a requirement of trustees, and they should continue to do this, and to report suspected fraud to Action Fraud. The Commission also urges charity staff, volunteers and the public to report to it any evidence of risk of harm to a charity, its beneficiaries or assets.

David Walker, Investigations and Enforcement at the Charity Commission, said: “One of our priorities is promoting self-reliance among charities, and as part of this we support Crimestoppers’ Charity Fraud Line, as an additional way that the public can work with us to help fight fraud. Projects like this recognise that protecting the charity sector from crime and poor management is a shared responsibility, and we’re working with the charity to ensure those contacting the line are aware of their wider reporting responsibilities. We’re committed to taking action against fraudsters, and our previous investigations have led to prosecutions in cases including that of a trustee in 2012, who stole £131,000 from his charity.”

For more information on the Charity Fraud Line visit www.charityfraudline.co.uk

Crimestoppers takes information on all crime anonymously via 0800 555 111 or through our anonymous online form found at www.crimestoppers-uk.org. Both routes are 100 per cent anonymous – names are not taken, calls and IP addresses are not traced or recorded and people do not have to go to court.

Separately, Derbyshire Police are warning kind-hearted homeowners about bogus charity bag collections after suspicious incidents in the Amber Valley area.

It is after a resident in Belper checked the charity reference number on a leaflet which had been put through their letterbox on Tuesday, May 21.

The number turned out to be false and the resident reported the incident to trading standards.

A resident in the Swanwick area received the same leaflet a week before and had contacted the council to report the same.

Insp. Graham Lamin, who is in charge of policing in the Amber Valley said: “The collection of clothing for charitable purposes is a legitimate activity undertaken by a number of well recognised and professionally managed companies acting as commercial partners to registered charities.

“The last thing we want to do is to put anyone off donating to genuine charities, however if a bag or leaflet is put through your door there are certain checks you can do to make sure it is legitimate.”

Residents are advised to, if possible, take unwanted clothing directly to a charity shop or to look for the ‘Give with Confidence’ Fundraising Standards Board logo.

Every legitimate charity will have a registered charity number on the bag or leaflet, along with a landline telephone number, postal address and information about other ways you can donate.

If you are in doubt, call the Clothes Aid helpline on 08450 722 780 and/or check with your local authority that the bags have been licensed.

You can also check the legitimacy of a charity by entering its registration number on the Charity Commission website: www.charitycommission.gov.uk.


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