Warning over possible scam fundraising for 12-year-old boy with cerebral palsy

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Police are warning the public due to concerns about a charity leaflet known to have been circulated in the area.

The leaflet asks for donations via PayPal in support of a 12-year-old boy called Michael with cerebral palsy. The leaflet includes the logo of a legitimate charity, however this charity has no knowledge of or connection to this fundraising drive.

Genuine charities and fraudsters often use the same methods to ask for donations. So, you need to be sure that a fraud has actually taken place. Here are some signs to look for and things to think about:

•Genuine charities are registered with the Charity Commission and print their registration details on all documentation, collection bags, envelopes etc. Check these details exist and also contact the Charity Commission to confirm they are authentic. You can call them on their helpline 0845 300 0218 or by visiting charity-commission.gov.uk, where they have an online charity register.

•As well as identity documents, people collecting money for a genuine charity must carry documents from the charity confirming they are collecting legitimately. Ask to see these documents and check the details.

•If the collection is for a charity you know is genuine, check the collection is authorised by asking the charity directly, using contact details from the phone book or a website that you know is genuine.

•Contact your local authority or police station to check whether the collector has been given a licence to collect.

•Watch out for poor grammar and spelling in emails and other documents, including collection envelopes.

•Send your donation to the charity directly. This may mean going to a little more trouble, but at least you can be sure your donation will get to where it’s intended.

If you feel that you have been victim of a fraud please contact Action Fraud who can be contacted via their website www.actionfraud.police.uk or via telephone number 0300 1232040.