Charity Fraud Awareness Week: Protect your charity from fraud and cyber crime

As part of the awareness week, which is being held 19-23 October 2020, the Charity Commission is warning trustees and donors to strengthen their defences as it fears the pandemic has created environments that are enabling charity fraud.

Charities have reported being victims of fraud or cybercrime 645 times since the start of the pandemic in March, amounting to £3.6 million in total losses to charities. The true scale of fraud against charities is believed to be much higher, as fraud is known to be underreported.

If your charity has been the victim of fraud, it’s important to report it to the relevant authorities. Reporting can help you access essential advice to get your charity back on track, but will also build a clearer picture of the scale of fraud affecting the wider sector. For details on how to report fraud read the Charity Commission guidance on reporting a serious incident in your charity.

Charities can find free tools and advice via an online hub as part of Charity Fraud Awareness Week, and are urged to follow the regulator’s 3 top tips in the fight against fraud.

The charity fraud awareness hub can be found here.

The 3 top tips are:

  • Be fraud aware
    • All organisations are at risk from fraud – being a charity is no defence
    • Be vigilant – in order to fight fraud, you need to find fraud
    • Be sure your trustees, staff and volunteers know how to spot and report fraud
  • Take time to check
    • Ensure your charity has robust financial controls in place and knows how to enforce them
    • Is there a counter-fraud policy that staff and volunteers are signed up to?
    • Trust is exploited by fraudsters – be willing to challenge unusual activity and behaviour, whoever is involved
  • Keep your charity safe
    • Prevention really is better than cure – taking simple steps now will help protect your charity from harm
    • Building a strong counter-fraud culture is vital and will boost your charity’s defences
    • Help is available – seek professional advice if you need to
    • Some charities may not even know they have been defrauded

The Charity Commission press release detailing these 3 top tips can be found here.

The Charity Commission protect your charity from fraud and cybercrime guidance can be found here.