An update from West Mercia Police
Current world conflicts inevitably lead to humanitarian crises on both sides as ordinary citizens suffer from injuries, a shortage of essential supplies and other hardships. So, it is inevitable that once again unscrupulous cybercriminals will be ready to exploit the situation, with online scams and malware related to various appeals, and taking advantage of people's genuine good nature.
This happened in previous situations such as the Ukraine war, earthquakes and many weather-related disasters around the world. Most fundraising appeals are fortunately genuine, so the risk of fraud should not put you off giving to charities. However, you should be vigilant and make sure you are giving safely to legitimate organisations.
So before donating online, on the phone or in person:
- Check the charity name and registration number at https://www.gov.uk/find-charity-information
- Check the Fundraising Regulator's online Directory to see if a charity has committed to good fundraising practice at org.uk/directory.
- If you are still unsure about giving, always ask the organisation for more information. Legitimate causes will be happy to respond and answer your questions.
- Always beware of unsolicited phone calls asking for charitable donations, as many can be fraudulent.
- Fundraising appeals with generic wording, such as 'to help earthquake victims" should be approached with caution, and an appeal should always be clear on exactly what the money will be used for.
When giving online, make sure the charity is genuine before giving any financial information:
- Type in the charity website address yourself, rather than clicking on a link, and look for the registered charity number on the website.
- Don't click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails.
- Never respond to unsolicited messages or calls that ask for your personal or financial details.
- Beware of any online advertisements that just feature a mobile number.
- Ignore requests to donate through a money transfer company as this is a popular scam.
- Only donate to online fundraising pages created by a person or organisation you know and trust. If in any doubt, contact the charity directly.
- When you meet a fundraiser in-person, check their credentials:
Street collectors should wear an ID badge that is clearly visible.
- Any collection buckets should be sealed and undamaged. Most fundraising materials should feature a charity's name, registration number and a landline phone number.
- Beware of handing over any bank details if asked to sign up to a Direct Debit donation.
- If in doubt, ask for more information – a genuine fundraiser should be happy to answer your questions.
Please feel free to share these messages with any vulnerable friends, relatives or neighbours.
IF YOU THINK YOU ARE BEING SCAMMED OR DO NOT RECOGNISE THE CONTACT
Take Five To Stop Fraud
STOP: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
CHALLENGE: Could it be fake? It's okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
PROTECT: Contact your bank immediately if you think you've fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud
If you've fallen for a scam, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/
Scam Text messages can be forwarded to 7726 to help phone providers take early action and block numbers that generate spam on their networks.
For further information visit: