ACTION Fraud is issuing advice to help people make sure they are donating to genuine charities.

The organisation says that almost £350,000 of charitable donations ended up in the pockets of criminals over the festive period last year.

So it has teamed up with the Charity Commission and the Fundraising Regulator to help the public make sure their donations are going to the right place. Head of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith, said: “Unfortunately criminals will try to abuse the generosity and goodwill of others. We would encourage people not to be put off donating to charities but instead to be vigilant. Make sure you do your research and follow our simple steps.”

Action Fraud is advising people to check registered charity numbers at and, if they are approached by a collector, to ask to see their ID badge.

People are also being warned not to click on the links or attachments in suspicious looking e-mails and to never respond to unsolicited messages and phone calls that ask for their personal or financial details. For more details visit or call 0300 123 2040.