Liverpool people are being asked to make sure money they give in street collections is going to genuine charities.
The warning comes after there have recently been a number of collectors in the city centre and outside football grounds who appear to be raising funds for charity but who are actually selling magazines which have a free “gift” item.
While people think they may be paying for these items to help legitimate charities they are actually paying for a periodical with very little, if any, money going to a charity.
When challenged the collectors say they are merely raising awareness of a cause or condition and they claim the person giving a donation is buying a magazine.
Sales of newspapers and periodicals in the streets does not require a permit and providing any person buying it is doing so in the full knowledge of the fact and not under the misunderstanding that their purchase or donation is going towards any particular charitable cause there is no issue.
If unsure people are being encouraged to ask the details of the charity that their donation is going towards.
Genuine charities will have a permit, which their collectors will show on request, and their collections boxes or tins will display the name of the charity and its registration number.
Councillor Frank Hont, cabinet member, said: “If the name of the charity is not clearly displayed you should always ask for it to be named and to see the permit.
“If the person collecting does not have a permit or anything showing that the charity has been properly registered then we strongly advise you not to give anything to them however worthy the cause may appear to be.
“The reality is that any money given is almost certainly going into somebody’s back pocket rather than charity.
“Not only is this exploiting people’s generosity but it may make people far less inclined to give to real charities so we would urge everybody to make sure they do not give any money to bogus organisations.”
Anybody who has concerns over a particular collector can report the matter to Liverpool City Council on 233 3015.