The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) is urging charities to take steps to prevent fraud and cybercrime.

Charity Fraud Awareness Week is an opportunity for everyone involved in the sector to raise awareness and share good practices.

ACNC Commissioner, the Hon Dr Gary Johns said all charities are vulnerable to fraud and cybercrime, especially now as fraudsters try to exploit national and global crises.

“As I meet with Australian charities, it is clear many are affected by the global Covid-19 crisis. It’s perhaps more important now than it has ever been to safeguard against the risk of fraud and cybercrime as charities face unprecedented challenges.

In 2019-20, the ACNC received 2,102 concerns about charities, most received from the public or members of a charity. The most common concerns were about perceived mismanagement of funds or individuals obtaining a private benefit from a charity.

“It takes time and hard work for charities to build their reputations but falling prey to fraud and cybercrime can quickly dent or damage it, particularly if a charity failed to put in place preventative measures.

“It’s better to get on the front foot by establishing good governance systems and procedures, to prevent fraud rather than take remedial action after it happens,” Dr Johns said.

The ACNC provides many resources to equip charities to increase awareness and to implement measures to prevent fraud. The resources are of value to everyone involved in the sector including directors, board members, trustees, staff and volunteers, as well as accountants, auditors and solicitors acting as professional advisors.

On Wednesday 21 October, the ACNC Compliance and Education teams will present a free webinar exploring the different types of fraud, charity’s vulnerability to fraud, ACNC obligations and ways to protect your charity. Register on the ACNC webinars page.

The Governance Toolkit includes resources to help charities manage risks including financial abuse, cybersecurity and working with partners.

Charity Fraud Awareness Week is taking place from 19 to 23 October, an international initiative designed to raise awareness and help prevent fraud in the charity sector. The ACNC is proud to support and promote Charity Fraud Awareness Week 2020.