Poor spelling is a clue to legitimacy of collection bags, regulator warns

The Fundraising Regulator and the Local Government Association have issued advice on weeding out fraudulent charity collection bags from legitimate ones

Poor spelling, punctuation or grammar on charity collection bags could suggest they are fraudulent, the Fundraising Regulator has warned.

The Fundraising Regulator, in collaboration with the Local Government Association, has issued advice to help people tell the difference between fraudulent charity clothing collection bags and genuine ones.

Charity clothing collection bags were one of the most complained-about fundraising methods in the year to 31 March 2018, the regulator has previously revealed. It warned today that the public should be alert to fraudulent collection schemes.

The regulator urged people to report suspected scams to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and internet crime reporting centre.

The advice, published on the regulator’s website, says members of the public can look for clues by examining the writing on the bag itself.

"Be wary of donating if the wording on the bag has poor spelling, punctuation or grammar," it says.

It also advises caution if the bag names a general charitable cause, such as "sick children" rather than a specific charity and if it does not explain how much the charity will make from the donation.

"Usually, a donation is made to charity for every tonne of items received" it says.

"If there is no information on the bag, do not donate."

Anyone with suspicions should check whether the charity is registered with the commission and can ring the charity directly to find out whether the bag drop has been authorised, the advice says.

They can also check whether the company is licensed by the local authority and registered with the fundraising regulator, it says.

Stephen Service, policy manager at the regulator, said: "The public need to feel confident they’re giving to legitimate collectors. This advice will help them to be certain they’re donating to a good cause."

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