More than half charities affected by fraud over last two years knew perpetrator

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23rd October 2019 14:56 - Voluntary

More than half charities affected by fraud over last two years knew perpetrator: A major study looking at fraud and cybercrime within UK charities has found that more than half of those affected (53%) in the last two years, knew who was responsible.  

The research, commissioned by charity regulator, the Charity Commission, is the largest ever charity study carried out in the UK looking at attitudes towards fraud and cybercrime and involved two separate studies: Preventing Charity Fraud and Preventing Charity Cybercrime

The studies found that in cases where the fraudster’s identity was known, 29% were working as paid staff at the charity, while 28% were volunteers or trustees and 13% were beneficiaries. Just 14% of those committing fraud against a charity were not known to the organisation. 

The report asserted that crime involving charities appears to be growing, with the Commision urging charities to take better steps towards preventing fraud within their organisation. 

More than 85% of the charities polled said that they believe they are doing everything they can do to prevent their organisation falling victim to fraud, however almost half admitted to not setting up any good-practice protections. 

When asked about their awareness of the major risk of fraud to the charity sector, 69% said they were aware, however, just more than a third (34%) believed that their particular organisation was not vulnerable to the most common methods of charity fraud. Despite knowing the risks, less than 9% reported having a fraud awareness programme.

Just over a quarter of charities polled (26%) believe they are more vulnerable to fraud because of the way they operate - based on goodwill and trust. The research also found that less than 30% have a whistleblowing policy in place. 


The Charity Commision research also found a growing awareness of the threat and risks around cybercrime, with 58% saying it is a 'major risk' to the charity sector. Almost a quarter (22%) said that they believe the charity sector is at greater risk of cybercrime than other sectors.

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