The Charity Commission has issued a warning against bogus clothing collections. This follows a number of complaints from members of the public who have received misleading leaflets. The leaflets ask people to donate unwanted clothing and other items that will be given to a charity, when in fact they are benefiting a private company or individual. In some cases fraudsters use the name, charity registration number and logo to trick members of the public into thinking they are donating to a real charity.
The Commission has stressed that this warning should not deter people from making donations of their unwanted material to genuine causes. The vast majority are genuine collections, which provide a much-needed source of income for legitimate charities.
It is possible to ascertain whether a charity collection is bogus or not. Registered charities must state by law that the collection is being undertaken for a charitable purpose, and usually provide the charity registration number. Spelling mistakes, unprofessionally produced literature or contact information that provides only a mobile number may also mean that the collection is not genuine.
Most collection allow at least two days before collecting unwanted goods, which means that there is time to make enquiries with the charity concerned or ensure that the local authority has granted a ‘public collection licence’ for the collection. If the collection is bogus, this may constitute a criminal activity and should be reported to the police. In the event of any lingering doubt, it may be better to give unwanted items directly to a charity shop.