Scam of the week: beware the charity scam

This article was written in response to messages from our readers. If you suspect a scam please let us know the details. We will investigate and warn others.

A new charity scam is on the horizon, Moneywise has learned.

Our readers have alerted us to a scam whereby criminals will cold call you, pretending they are calling on behalf of a charity.

They will then request you sign up to a monthly donation direct debit to make regular payments. However, when asking them to confirm the name of the charity and its contact details the line goes dead - a clear sign you've been dealing with a fraudster.

While charities regularly cold call people to try to raise more money, unfortunately, fraudsters have been copping onto this to try to take advantage of people's goodwill.

If you think you've been scammed, get in touch by leaving a comment below or emailing us on scamwatch@moneywise.co.uk and let us know exactly what has happened.


Always check

So how can you tell if it's a scam or not?

If you are unsure whether a caller is genuine or not, you can always phone the charity back on a known phone number listed in the phone book or on its website.

Also, any legitimate charity should be more than happy to tell you its charity registration number and its address.

All charities have to be registered with the Charity Commission - which you can call on its helpline 0845 300 0218 or by visiting charity-commission.gov.uk to check whether a charity is authentic or not.

Whatever you do, don't give out your personal information and bank details to make a regular donation unless you are completely certain the charity you are talking to is genuine.

If you have been a victim of charity fraud, you should contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

[Related feature: Can you get your money back after a scam?]