A warning has been issued to residents in South Tyneside be on their guard after reports of suspected bogus charity collectors targeting homes.
The call comes following concerns from those living in Shakespeare Avenue, Byron Avenue and Windsor Crescent areas of Hebburn of people knocking on their doors claiming to be representing good causes.
When challenged have been unable to produce identification or any information of the charity they’re claiming to represent.
Already a number of homes have been visited in the past few weeks by those claiming to be from Children’s Cancer Month’ or the ‘RVI’.
Speaking on behalf of the three ward councillors for Hebburn North, councillors Richard Porthouse and Liz McHugh, Coun Adam Ellison, who raised the issue with the Council’s Trading Standards Team, said: “There are many people who would not hesitate to support worthy causes.
“Unfortunately, in these cases, there have been concerns raised about whether the collectors or their charities were genuine, particularly when they have been unable to provide appropriate identification or further information about their cause.
This is concerning especially as this area has a largely elderly population with many vulnerable residents.Coun Adam Ellison
“This is concerning especially as this area has a largely elderly population with many vulnerable residents. We are urging residents to stay alert and report anything suspicious to help safeguard themselves from falling victim to this type of doorstep crime.”
Coun Nancy Maxwell, lead member for area management and community safety, said: “While we do not wish to discourage donations to genuine charities and hope that people will give generously, we would encourage people to follow some top tips to ensure the causes they are supporting are legitimate.”
For alerts of rogue traders or doorstep scams operating in the area, people can sign up to the Northumbria Police messaging service www.yournorthumbria.org
Tips for ensuring charity collectors are genuine:-
Ask to see the individual’s identification, licence or permit to collect and check with the charity that the named collector is known to them. ID cards often have the charity’s telephone number on them for people to call. However it is best to seek their head office number yourself in case the one they provide is false;Legitimate collectors will be happy to wait while their identification is verified;
Check that collection boxes are sealed and display the name of the charity. Ask whether the collection is for a charity or business. Registered charities will have a charity number which can be checked with the Charity Commission on 0845 3000 218. Organisations with only a registered company number are businesses.
Be wary of collections that refer to vague causes such as ‘families in need’, ‘sick children at Christmas’ or ‘the homeless’. Check the name of the charity they are collecting for.
Don’t feel pressured into making a donation or signing up to anything on the doorstep. If there is any doubt, seek advice from a friend, neighbour or relative first.