Leaflet warns about bogus collectors

The Cabinet Office is launching a consumer-awareness leaflet to advise householders in England and Wales how to tell if door-to-door charity clothing collectors are genuine.

Leaflet: advising donors
Leaflet: advising donors
The initiative comes after a meeting of six key regulators in August to discuss the problem of bogus collections, which cost charities up to £3m a year in lost sales (Third Sector, 22 August).

The leaflets urge householders to continue giving to genuine charities and include tips such as ‘check the charity’s name or number on the Charity Commission’s online register of charities’ and ‘contact your local authority to see whether the collector has a licence’.

The campaign is supported by the Charity Commission, Trading Standards, local authorities, the Association of Charity Shops and Clothes Aid, which collects on behalf of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.

Clothes Aid will be responsible for delivering the leaflets to households in particular problem areas, including the West Midlands, north-east London, Bristol and Gloucester. Additional leaflets are available online from the websites of the partner organisation. Posters will also be displayed in charity shop windows.

Launching the campaign yesterday, Phil Hope, the Minister for the Third Sector, said: “Charities are losing substantial sums of money to anonymous bogus collectors that mislead donors into thinking they are charities. While the law can deal with those that falsely claim to be either charities or collecting on behalf of charities, it is extremely difficult to trace these anonymous collectors.

“It is important for the public to know that their donation is going to a genuine charitable cause. I urge everyone to keep giving, but read the leaflets carefully and make sure you know who you are giving to.”

Michael Lomotey, head of campaigns at Clothes Aid, added: “Unfortunately, there have been very few prosecutions because it’s a bit of a grey area. So we are delighted the Government is launching a campaign next week to highlight the problem.”

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