Press release

Commission issues warning about scams

Regulator issues alert about a scam that uses a fake charity name to obtain bank information.

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The Charity Commission is reminding charities and the public to be vigilant and look out for scams used by fraudsters to obtain bank details.

The commission says that it is aware of a recent scam designed to trick religious foundations in the USA, and possibly this country too. The foundations were contacted with news that they were due a large gift or donation from an organisation promoted as being a legitimate and registered charity in the UK, which did not exist.

In this instance, in an attempt to make the scam appear more credible, the fraudster used false documentation showing parts of the commission’s logo and a forged staff signature. The regulator was contacted by a number of concerned individuals.

Before giving out any information, particularly of a financial nature, to another charity, trustees can take the simple step of looking up the registered charity number and the charity’s entry on the commission’s online charity search tool.

Trustees who receive correspondence falsely claiming to be from a genuine charity or from the commission should report this to the commission and to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and internet crime reporting centre. The commission has referred this matter to Action Fraud.

Ends

PR 30/15


Notes to editors

  1. The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales.
  2. Our mission is to be the independent registrar and regulator of charities in England and Wales, acting in the public’s interest, to ensure that: * charities know what they have to do * the public know what charities do * charities are held to account
  3. The online charity search tool allows the public and charities to search for charities by name and number, and to identify charities within certain income brackets, geographical areas and with certain charitable aims. Each charity’s entry includes information about the charities finances and its trustees.
  4. The commission’s decision to announce the opening of a statutory inquiry is based on whether it is in the public interest to do so and with consideration of our objective to increase public trust and confidence in charities. Read more information on the commission’s policy and factors taken into account when deciding to issue a press release.

Press office

Published 20 May 2015