Fraudsters have stolen £2.3m from charities in 2022 so far, according to newly published data.
Action Fraud’s figures show that there were 408 reports of charity fraud between January and November 2022, amounting to a total loss of £2.3m.
This is a 44% increase from the same period last year, when the sector lost £1.6m.
The figures were obtained by the Fundraising Regulator and mark the launch of the Christmas 2022 Safer Giving Campaign.
The campaign, which is jointly run alongside the Charity Commission and Action Fraud, calls on the public to make safe charitable donations this Christmas.
Charities ‘feel the pressure on donations’
The Fundraising Regulator said that while “most fundraising is genuine, fraudsters do take advantage of people’s generosity”.
Its campaign advises donors who wish to give to charities during the Christmas period to conduct simple checks such as checking the charity name and registration number on the Commission website.
The Fundraising Regulator wrote in an online statement: “Against the backdrop of rising energy and food bills, and real-term wage falls, charities are reporting pressure on donations, making it even more important that people are alert to potential fraud and take simple steps to ensure their hard-earned funds reach the causes they care about.”
Pauline Smith, head of Action Fraud, said that people should not be put off donating to charities, and follow advice so that their donations “don’t end up in the wrong hands”.
“Charities work tirelessly all year round to help those in greatest need. Sadly, criminals will try to abuse the generosity and goodwill of others, and this can have a huge financial impact on charities and the causes they support,” she added.
Donors should make ‘undertake simple checks’
Gerald Oppenheim, chief executive of the Fundraising Regulator said: “Amid the cost-of-living crisis, where charities and personal budgets are tight, people must feel confident that their donations are going to where they are intended.
“Although fraudsters remain inventive, by following some simple checks you can reduce your chances of falling victim to fraud and help ensure that charities continue to receive the donations they need to carry out their essential work.”
Paul Latham, director of communications and policy at the Charity Commission, added: “These are difficult times for many households, and indeed for charities that rely on people’s generosity.
“We know not everyone will be able to give to charity this Christmas, but those that do will want to make sure that their donations reach the end cause and make a positive difference. We’re therefore calling on donors to undertake simple checks to ensure they can continue to give safely, and with confidence.”