Crimestoppers opens new charity fraud line

Charity staff can anonymously report suspected fraud either by phone or online, with information to be passed either to the charity in question, the Charity Commission or the police

Crimestoppers has launched a charity fraud reporting service.

From today, charity staff can anonymously contact the Charity Fraud Line with information about a suspected misuse of public donations, either through a telephone line that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or a dedicated website.

A spokeswoman for Crimestoppers, itself a charity, said charities can sign up to the service to ensure that any information provided about their organisation is forwarded to a designated contact in the charity. Signed-up charities would be given personalised log-ins for their staff so that any information given by staff was automatically identified as relating to that particular charity.

If the person providing the information believes that the designated contact is involved in the fraud, the report will be sent to the Charity Commission. In cases where charities are not signed up to the service, any information gathered about that charity will be passed to the police, the spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman said the service would be free for charities to sign up to in 2013/14 and Crimestoppers would be covering the costs of the scheme for the first year. But she said the charity had not yet decided how the costs would be met from the following year.

Lord Ashcroft, founder of Crimestoppers, said: "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."

David Walker, head of monitoring, assessment and development at the Investigations and Enforcement Department at the Charity Commission, said: "Projects such as 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."

Charity staff can report information about a suspected fraud on an anonymous basis to 08000 232 101 or on www.charityfraudline.co.uk.

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