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Charity Fraud Can Happen. Make Sure Your Charity is Protected

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Fraud and cybercrime can cost a charity dearly. The impact is not only financial, but also can create negative publicity that makes the general public sceptical about donating. After all, would you give money to somebody who has a reputation for losing their cash? Voluntary organisations can be seen as an easy target for criminals, many have high levels of cash flow, so suspicious transactions can be harder to identify and many rely on the goodwill and trustfulness of volunteers.

As with most things in life, prevention is better than cure. Protect yourself by:

Good Governance

Appoint a Trustee with a finance background, who is likely to pick up on any irregularities. Train management, staff and volunteers in what to look out for. Create a robust procedure for reporting any suspicions of fraudulent activities and make sure everybody involved in the charity knows how to use it. Anticipate the unpleasant possibility that fraud can be internal, by trustees, staff, volunteers or anybody else who knows the charity’s procedures.  

Cyber Security

Make sure your computer security software and firewalls are continually updated, but remember criminals are increasingly tech savvy and there is always the danger they can get past your defences. Find out if your charity is adequately protected by visiting the National Cyber Security Centre.

Protect Your Information

From May this year, all organisations should be complying with GDPR requirements. You can find out more from the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Insurance

Take a look at what risks your charity might face from fraudsters, and consider talking to your broker about whether it is appropriate to take out suitable insurance.

What if the worst happens?

Call Police Scotland on 101 immediately. You should also send OSCR a notifiable event.

OSCR is a great resource in this area. Download their guide Fraud: Reducing the risks in your charity.

You can also get in touch with the Thomson Cooper expert Fiona Haro who is happy to give you some advice. fharo@thomsoncooper.com