Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Hospice warns against bogus charity collectors

Southern Area Hospice Services is urging the public to check the identity of charity callers to their home before making a donation after reports of a bogus door-to-door collector operating in the Newry area.

Majella Gollogly, the Fundraising Manager at the Southern Area Hospice, said they had received a number of complaints from members of the public about a collector purporting to be collecting on behalf of the Hospice, asking people to set up donations by direct debit.

Urging people to be alert and report any such incident to the police, she said: “We don’t currently have any licenced collectors going door-to-door requesting to set up direct debits donations.

“Given the number of calls, we wanted to make the public aware that this is not a Southern Area Hospice collection and to advise them of what they should do if they have concerns.”

Ms Gollogly outlined simple steps that can be taken to ensure door-to-door charity collectors are genuine including asking for some official identification.

Door-to-door collectors should have proper identity badges, which are properly printed, not photocopied or hand-written, with a photograph and signature. A genuine fundraiser should be happy to answer questions and explain more about the work of the charity.  Door-to-door collectors should also have a copy of their licence, issued by the PSNI, stating that the collection is licensed.

Genuine fundraising materials should feature the charity’s name, registered number and a landline contact number. Be wary of those that list only a mobile number. The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland can be contacted to check the details of a charity.

She advised that if any behaviour by a fundraiser, or should the information they present cause concerns, householders should contact the charity directly to confirm if there are collectors in the area.

“Collectors shouldn’t put pressure on members of the public to give their support. If you tell them you’re not interested, the collector should politely stop their approach and leave your property.  When it comes to door-to-door collections; if in doubt, do not donate, there are plenty of alternative ways to support your local hospice,” she added.