The Charity Commission has been the victim of identity theft and has warned the public not to be duped by fake charitable trusts bearing the name of a senior executive.
Sarah Atkinson, the organisation’s director of policy, planning and communications, said she had been contacted by several people overseas who had been sent paperwork allegedly carrying her name and signature.
The potential victims, who are sometimes charities themselves seeking funding, are contacted out of the blue and offered money from a charitable trust.
Ms Atkinson said it is not clear whether the fraudsters will then attempt to extract cash for bogus administrative fees or seek to gain personal information on the target for use in future scams.
The commission has been told of half a dozen cases in the past year but fears there could be many more as those who fall victim are not likely to come forward. The targets are commonly based in the USA but the most recent case was reported in Germany last month.
In one case, a Christian charitable mission in America was contacted by a trust purportedly based in the UK offering a “donation” of £2.8m. The alleged trustee had included a confirmation form supposedly authorised and signed by Ms Atkinson.