Thursday, 26 January 2006
DTI publishes scam-busting guidelines
THE DTI has issued guidelines to prevent businesses getting
caught up in cold calling charity publishing scams.
Fake publishers have been calling UK businesses asking for
donations or to place adverts in publications including charity
booklets, emergency services magazines, and children’s hospital
The reality of these approaches is that very few of these
adverts ever get printed.
Common scam tactics include:
- Catching victims unawares by making unsolicited contact by
telephone – often using numbers from telephone directories;
- Tricking victims into agreeing with statements, sometimes
unwittingly signing them up to a campaign. A standard questions
is: ‘Do you agree that children need better drugs education?’;
- Pressurising victims into feeling guilty if they don’t offer
- Offering a smaller (cheaper) sponsorship/donation
opportunity if businesses first say no.
The DTI’s new guidelines suggest scam-busting tips such as:
- Always check credentials;
- Ask as many questions as possible;
- Don’t send money or give out personal details to anyone
until you’ve checked them out; and
- Contact your local trading standards department, Citizen’s
Advice Bureau or police station for advice.
The DTI’s Company Investigations branch takes action against
companies operating publishing scams. Examples of companies wound
up by investigators in the past year include Cavendish Black and
Gerry Sutcliffe, DTI Consumer and Fair Markets Minister, said:
“The actions of these people are truly reprehensible. They are
preying on the goodwill of honest businessmen and women and
diverting much needed money away from good causes. Our
investigators won’t hesitate to shut them down.
“Our advice to all businesses is: Please don’t hesitate to
support charities but do think twice before parting with money
without checking credentials first”
Andrew Hind, chief executive of the Charity Commission said:
"Business and the public can play a big role in reducing this kind
of abuse by making sure their money goes to a genuine fundraiser
and not to crooks.
“It's easy to check if a charity's genuine or not - check our
online register of charities at
Stephen Alambritis, head of parliamentary affairs for the
Federation of Small Business, said: "Over four million small
business proprietors are consumers in their own right and need as
much protection as they can get from scam operators.
“It is encouraging to see the government taking action on this
trend and the guidelines will prove useful to small businesses."
Full scam-busting guidelines are available at