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27 October 2020

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Charity Sector and Fraud during the Pandemic

The Charity Commission is warning charities and the public to protect themselves against fraudsters during the pandemic.

Charities have reported being victims of fraud or cybercrime 645 times since the start of the pandemic in March with total losses amounting to £3.6 million. Fraud is known to be underreported, so the true scale of losses could be much greater.

Research carried out by the Commission has found that 73% of charities affected by fraud change their procedures or enhance controls to prevent future frauds. The research also found that two-thirds of frauds are discovered by audits and financial controls, so the industry regulator is promoting the use of simple checks and controls alongside the education of staff and volunteers to develop a strong counter-fraud culture as being the key to protection from fraudsters.

The Commission is urging charities to follow these top tips: –

Be Fraud Aware

  • All organisations are at risk from fraud – being a charity is no defence
  • Be vigilant – in order to fight fraud, you must be able to identify fraud
  • Educate your trustees, staff and volunteers to be able to spot and report fraud

Take Time to Check

  • Ensure that your charity has robust financial controls in place
  • Introduce a counter-fraud policy that staff and volunteers sign up to
  • Trust is exploited by fraudsters – empower your staff and volunteers to challenge unusual activity and behaviour, whoever is involved

Keep Your Charity Safe

  • Prevention is better than cure – taking simple steps now will help protect your charity from harm
  • Building a strong counter-fraud culture will boost your charity’s defences
  • Seek professional help if you need to

At Centor, we believe that educating staff and volunteers to be able to identify and report fraudulent activity and challenge unusual behaviour is vital to help fight against fraud and cybercrime, which is why we have developed a Cyber Training package to help our clients provide that education. If you would like to know more, please contact James Groves on or call him on 020 7330 8707.