Charity bag fraud and theft

Shopping in BHF

House-to-house collections of donated goods are a crucial source of income for many charities and a popular way for the public to donate to charity shops. 

However, charities like us are increasingly the victim of charity bag theft, with organised crime gangs targeting bags of second hand clothes left out on the pavement for charities to collect.

Some criminals are also setting up their own unregistered or fake charities to mislead people into making donations using fraudulent charity bags.

Although the police have taken some steps to deal with this type of crime we’re calling for more action:

  • when people are convicted of committing charity bag fraud or theft, the sentence that they receive should take into account the harm done to charities and to people's willingness to donate in the future
  • the Government should provide regular information to householders about how they can best ensure that their donations are going to genuine charities.

In 2011/12, our shop staff reported 241 incidents of theft of donated goods from doorsteps but we believe that this is only the tip of the iceberg.

For more information read our policy statement.