Residents in Northumberland are being urged to be wary when approached by charity collectors following information that potential fraudsters have been calling at houses in Blyth.

The warning comes from Northumberland County Council’s Trading Standards Service who say fake collectors prey on sympathy by asking people to make a charitable donation to a worthy cause and the official charity will never benefit from the money raised.

Charities always need to be registered and have a license if they’re collecting in a public place. Anyone affected by this can check they’re authenticity by accessing the Charity Commission’s website at www.gov.uk/government/organisations/charity-commission

If the charity is genuine, residents can check whether the collection is authorised. They can call the charity directly or look them up using a phone book or a website, but shouldn’t accept websites or numbers provided by a collector.

If in doubt, tell the collector you’ll donate directly to the charity yourself. Residents will be able to donate through websites and at high street charity shops.

Collectors would be expected to know about the organisation they are collecting for and a few questions regarding the charity may be able to help determine whether they are genuine or not.

Councillor John Riddle, Cabinet member for Planning, Housing and Resilience said: “These fake collectors do this entirely for their own monetary benefit and the charities they claim to represent will not see any of the donations given. I would urge people to take precautionary steps to ensure that their hard earned money is going to the charities they wish it to.”

David Sayer, Business Compliance and Public Safety Unit Manager, added: “We have received reports that bogus collectors have been attempting to collect money door to door. This underhand tactic is a form of fraud to make money for  private individuals  and we would welcome any information from the public with regard to this practice.”

Anyone with concerns about collectors in their area can contact Northumbria Police on 101 or Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0345 404 0506.

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