The Charity Commission is encouraging the public to donate generously and safely to charities delivering humanitarian aid to help the people who have fled violence in Myanmar. The safer giving advice issued by the Commission follows the launch of the emergency appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) on Wednesday.
The Commission wants to ensure that donations are reaching genuine charities during this critical time where humanitarian aid is needed to provide shelter, medical care, water and food for hundreds of thousands of people.
Most fundraising is genuine, but the Commission stresses that fraudsters and criminals do take advantage of public generosity during times of increased fundraising; methods can include fake appeal websites, email appeals that falsely use the name of genuine charities, or appeals from fake charities.
The regulator says that falling victim to false appeals is avoidable if a few simple steps are taken before giving, including checking a charity’s name and registration number against its check charity tool and being careful when responding to emails or clicking links within them.
Helen Stephenson, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission, said:
It is truly chilling to hear about the plight of people fleeing violence in Myanmar, and the terrible conditions they are currently facing. We want people to continue donating generously and confidently to charities delivering essential humanitarian aid, to ensure that funds are reaching the end cause safely.
It is unfortunate that times of crisis and need can trigger fraudsters to take advantage of people’s generosity, but by following a few simple steps, you can make sure your donation goes to the registered charities doing vital work, including the DEC member charities.
The DEC brings together 13 registered UK aid charities who are experts in humanitarian aid and deliver efficient disaster responses to those affected by the appealed crises. There are also other registered charities doing critical work to offer or support humanitarian aid during this time.
The Commission is advising people to take a few simple steps to avoid fraudulent fundraising:
- before giving, check the charity’s name and registration number on the check charity tool. This will help you make an informed decision before donating by providing information about each charity, including its charitable purposes and activities, registered contact details, and its compliance and financial history and accounts.
- take care when responding to emails or clicking links to a charity’s website to ensure that they are genuine. Instead, search online for your preferred charity to ensure you have the right web address.
- if you have any concerns about the legitimacy of a request for donations that appears to come from a charity, don’t hesitate to contact that charity directly to request further information.
- when approached by collectors on the street, check whether they are wearing a proper ID badge and that any collection tin is sealed.
If you think that a collection or appeal is not legitimate, you can report it as a crime online to Action Fraud or call them on 0300 123 2040 or online.
You can also complain about a charity on GOV.UK
Any concerns about fundraising standards should be sent to the Fundraising Regulator.
Notes to editors
- The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales
- Search for charities on our online check charity tool.