Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) is raising awareness of the risk of charity fraud as part of International Charity Fraud Awareness Week 2020.
This year’s awareness week runs from 19th to 23rd October 2020 and aims to encourage and empower charities to talk about fraud and share best practice.
Unlike some other NHS organisations, WWL employs a dedicated in-house full-time Local Counter Fraud Specialist (LCFS), Collette Ryan.
Collette said: “Fraud against the NHS is not a victimless crime, because valuable funds are meant for patient care.
“The Trust wants to send a clear message that it has a zero tolerance to fraud, corruption and bribery.
“It will not be tolerated in our Trust both internally and externally, including any allegation of fundraising fraud against the Trust’s official charity, Three Wishes that was established as a registered charity to provide additional support with a real focus on the patient experience”.
All charities are susceptible to fraud, especially NHS charities during the coronavirus pandemic, and can be seen as easy target for criminals. Fraud and cyber-crime is on the rise, which is why it’s important for charities to protect their income and assets.
The Charities Commission have confirmed fraudsters are exploiting the spread of coronavirus in order to carry out fraud and cybercrime. Police have reported an increase in coronavirus related scams. Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has alerted the public in the rise of bogus charity collectors during the pandemic, which the Trust has duly highlighted to staff.
According to The Annual Fraud Indicator (AFI), fraud is already thought to cost the charity sector as much as £2.5bn a year.
The campaign is supported globally by a coalition of regulators, law enforcers, representative bodies and other not-for-profit stakeholders.