The Cystic Fibrosis Trust has potentially lost thousands of pounds in donations after fraudsters began carrying out fake clothes collections using the charity’s old collection bags.
The trust said a criminal organisation or individual had somehow got hold of its old charity collection bags.
When the charity created a new brand identity in March 2013, it asked its suppliers to destroy its stock of collection bags, bearing the charity’s old logo, but it said that it had reason to believe that some of them were still in circulation.
The scam came to light two weeks ago when one of the charity’s supporters became suspicious and contacted it about the fake collection. Since then, the charity has received several more calls from supporters.
Towns in the counties of Bedfordshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire have been affected by the scam, as well as the city of Birmingham and areas in north-west England. The charity has contacted police forces in all of these areas to ask them to investigate.
It has warned supporters not to make clothing donations to anyone claiming to collect them on its behalf and has asked the public to get in touch or call the police if they received one of the fake bags.
Iain McAndrew, director of engagement and income generation at the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, said: "Unfortunately charities sometimes fall victim to criminal activity, which is extremely damaging to the public’s confidence and could affect their willingness to continue with their generous support. We have reason to believe that our old charity sacks carrying the old red, white and blue Cystic Fibrosis Trust logo are in circulation. These are no longer our official bags and should be disposed of immediately."
The Charity Retail Association said criminals who fraudulently collected clothing usually sold the goods abroad at a rate of 55p per kilo.
The association said that fraud of this kind was now rare because many charities had asked supporters to phone them and to arrange a collection rather than leaving donations outside their door.