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Charity Commission warns charities of COVID-19 related frauds

Wednesday 29th April, 2020

According to The Charity Commission fraudsters are exploiting the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in order to carry out fraud and cybercrime. Police have reported an increase in coronavirus related scams.

The Charity Commission is issuing an alert to help charities minimise the risk of becoming a victim of such frauds and cyber-attacks. All charities, but especially those providing services and supporting local communities during the coronavirus crisis, could be targeted by fraudsters.

Procurement fraud

There are a number of ways in which charities can be defrauded. Some scams involve the sale of vital personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face masks and gloves, online. Some sellers have been fraudulent. Once the payment has been made, no products are delivered or the products do not meet required standards.

The Charity Commission recommends, carrying out due diligence if you’re making a purchase on behalf of your charity from a company or person you do not know.

Mandate or Chief Executive Officer frauds

The Charity Commission advises, always be cautious if you are asked to make changes to bank details or make payments to a new account. Wherever possible, follow your charity’s validation procedures and check the authenticity of such messages before making any payments or actioning banking changes.
Example of this type of fraud: A charity employee working from home receives an email purporting to be from a legitimate company providing services for the charity. The email asks that future payments be made to an alternative bank account, which is controlled by the fraudster.

Scam emails (‘phishing’)

Be vigilant. Do not click on links or attachments in unexpected or suspicious emails. Never respond to unsolicited messages or phone calls that ask for your personal or financial details. The police have already noted an increase in phishing attacks.

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