Charity clothing scam warning

Residents have been asked to be vigilant to a bogus charity scam. Merton Trading Standards are warning householders in the borough that commercial companies are using the impression of ‘charity’ to get clothes, which are subsequently sold for profit.

Leaflets requesting unwanted clothing, normally a reputable method of raising money for charities, have been received throughout Merton. The leaflets carry messages such as ‘your donation will go to poor families in Eastern Europe’ to ‘all proceeds will go to help the needy.

To help sort the genuine charities from the bogus, residents are asked to look out for the following:

Is the organiser’s full address and telephone number given on the leaflet?

Does the leaflet or collecting bag show a registered charity number? Some companies state their ‘registered’ number, but this usually just means they’re registered as a company with Companies House.

It’s perfectly legal for a professional fundraising company to collect on behalf of a charity but it must say how much of the donation will actually go to the charity.

If an organisation is collecting on behalf of a charity then it should name the charity in any fundraising material. ‘Needy orphans’ and ‘Sick kids’ isn’t specific enough!

If you don’t recognise the charity or company involved then feel free to phone for further details before giving. If the response isn’t professional, or there’s no reply or you feel uneasy about the information given then don’t donate.

Ian Murrell, Commercial and Trading Standards Manager said,” Please read any leaflets very carefully before you give anything away. You may be boosting a company’s profits rather than helping a worthwhile cause.”