All charities need to be alive to the risk of fraud.  Sadly, we live in a world where it is increasingly easy for criminals to perpetrate significant crimes and charities can be seen as an ‘easy target’.

Charities should regularly review and consider what steps they have taken to minimise their risk of being affected by fraud.

Here are some pointers you might find helpful:

  1. There is no perfect system and new methods are constantly being tried by fraudsters. Charity trustees, staff and volunteers all need to be alert to the possibility of fraud and not just see procedures as a box-ticking exercise
  1. ‘Know who you are dealing with’ – check that people and businesses are who they say they are. You should refer to the Charity Commission guidance
  1. Be particularly careful over giving or receiving bank details e.g. from someone who telephones claiming to have a legacy payment. Genuine donors should appreciate the need for reasonable checks and enquiries to safeguard charity funds
  2. Websites and social media mean that fraudsters can research charities and the individuals within them. Fraudsters can send e-mails purporting to be from individuals within the charity/banks/HMRC or others in a very convincing way.  Always be wary of anything unusual, particularly regarding financial transfers or financial information and never give out passwords.  Check the e-mail address for minor changes
  3. Never rely on e-mails in the giving or receiving of financial information. Always check with a known and trusted telephone number or address if you receive an e-mail request from a supplier that its bank details have changed
  4. Be wary of attachments and links to e-mails unless you know they are from a reliable source and expected
  5. Although cyber crime is a big issue, often it is combined with more traditional methods of fraud e.g. telephone calls or people gaining access to your premises
  6. Look out for the high-pressure request on Friday afternoon or other times when you are busy – perhaps in the run up to a well-publicised charity event – and you are less likely to have time to consider and query the request being made
  7. Ensure everybody in the organisation is alert to these issues and receives regular training and reminders that are put into practice and not treated as a ‘tick box’ exercise

The good news is that people are still keen to give to charity and are increasingly aware of cyber crime and fraud issues from media stories.

If you need advice reviewing the issues raised in this article or any other issue get in touch either by telephone 01726 74433 or email enquiries@stephens-scown.co.uk