A mobile version of the Charity Commission's website, which goes live today, is designed to make it easy for people to check charities' details on their phone before making a donation.
The mobile site, which includes the register of over 180,000 charities, should help to give members of the public confidence that the money they donate will reach its intended destination.
As well as finding out whether a charity is registered with the Charity Commission, users can use the mobile site to find details of what individual charities do and where they work. It also shows contact details for registered charities, so anyone concerned about a collection can contact the charity directly.
Charity trustees can also use the mobile site to access summaries of the Commission's guidance on issues including fundraising and trading.
Dame Suzi Leather, Chair of the Charity Commission acknowledged that some people attempt to dupe the public at Christmas with fraudulent charity collections. She said: "Many charities appeal for funds over the festive period and they currently need the public’s donations more than ever. But give smartly; make sure your money is going to a genuine registered charity. The Charity Commission new mobile site will help you quickly check that the charity asking for your money is a proper registered charity."
She added: "In addition to double-checking details of street charity collections, I would also encourage people making donations to watch out for email scams and fake websites. If you are suspicious of any appeals for donations, always check the charity registration number on the Charity Commission site or contact the charity directly.”