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Charity Bag Scams - More news

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I am now in receipt of my third charity bag in 2 weeks. It's in the name of a different charity. It's not necessarily illegal, but almost certainly not quite what people might expect. The two most recent are "Cancer Research & Genetics UK" and "Leukaemia Care". In each case the bags were delivered by people who had no ID.

Genuine collectors for genuine charities will have proper ID. Without proper ID there is no way of knowing if these are just the same people distributing different bags. I did speak with Lyndsey Whitehead (our PCSO) and she said that anything suspicious should be reported to 101, preferably with a registration of the vehicle.

Bona Fide charity collection vehicles will usually have the charity logo on the side. The ubiquitous white van is in all likelihood not genuine.

There is now a different type of charity collection bag that, although not illegal, is very misleading. These collections are not what you think. They're actually commercial companies who are using charity names as the headline on their collection bags. When you read the small print or research the company you find that they are doing the collection for their own profit.

They justify the use of the charity name by saying they will send a percentage of their profits to the charity. In practise Trading standards have identified that these percentages are usually manipulated to be miniscule. In many cases the charity have no idea that their name is being used in this way.

In the case of the North West Air Ambulance, the bags were definitely fakes. It's sometimes difficult to spot a fake bag, but a call to the charity concerned will always quickly identify if they are genuine and if they have an active collection in the area. Obvious things to watch out for are poor quality printing, poor English, unusual English phrases and obvious typing errors.

My suggestion if people want to donate is to phone the charity you favour most and ask them how you can do so. Many will make arrangements to collect from you as they have vehicles on regular collection routes. I know that Northwest Air Ambulance will do so. Also, many of them have shops in Wilmslow, Alderley, Knutsford and Macclesfield where people can drop off donations.

Don't be fooled by these bags which are increasingly just sending clothes to profit making organisations.

Mike Grundy

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