Action Fraud has warned of a recent surge in so-called “CEO fraud” that has resulted in charities losing money intended to buy staff Christmas presents.

The scam involves a fraudster posing as the CEO or another senior person in the charity. They send an email request to a colleague to buy gift cards, which they say will be given to staff for Christmas. But then they request copies of the cards and use the codes to spend on themselves at the charity’s expense.

So, look out for:

  • Unexpected requests from senior staff to make purchases that they haven’t spoken to you about before.
  • Someone putting you under pressure to spend the charity’s money urgently, even if it appears to be someone with authority to do so.
  • Email addresses that look very similar, but are not the same, as your CEO’s or other senior staff.

Make sure you:

  • Contact your colleague by phone or in person to confirm their instructions before authorising any transfers.
  • Always challenge unusual requests and get a second opinion if you are not sure.
  • Share this story with your colleagues so they know what to look out for.

If you would like more information about how to protect your charity from fraud or to discuss a specific matter, please email us at or call 020 7551 7777 and ask to speak to Rob Oakley or Mindy Jhittay.

Melinder Jhittay photo

Melinder Jhittay

Senior Associate

+44(0)20 7551 7853

View full information about Melinder Jhittay
Robert Oakley photo

Robert Oakley

Partner and Head of Dispute Resolution

+44(0)20 7551 7792 / 07891 143718

View full information about Robert Oakley

Posted on 14/12/2018 in BWB Publications

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