High Wycombe residents are being warned not to be duped into donating money to bogus charity collectors.

Some collections are thought to be linked to organised crime, while others have been suspected of raising money for terrorist activity overseas.

Although many collections are genuine, there has been a spike in recent years of the number of people convicted of fraudulent fundraising.

The Support Charity Not Crime campaign, which was launched last Thursday, is designed to give people the skills to identify genuine collections and the confidence to turn away those they believe might be fake.

Councillor Julia Adey, the district council's cabinet member for community, said: “Most collections and appeals will be legitimate and many residents in the district do support charitable causes by making donations.

“A survey in 2014 by the Just Giving website found that people in High Wycombe were among the most generous in the UK.

“However the uncomfortable truth is that some street collections are not genuine. This campaign is designed to make it harder for the criminals to pull the wool over people’s eyes and take advantage of the public’s generosity and kind-heartedness.

“The six key messages at the heart of the campaign can help prevent this.

“If people are in any doubt at all, they shouldn't hand over any money. If they do want to support a particular good cause they can always make a donation online or over the phone later that day.”

The campaign is being coordinated by the Home Office-backed London Prevent Network, with support from the Metropolitan Police, the Charity Commission and councils.

The initiative involves police, councils, the Charity Commission and the Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB).

Alistair McLean, chief executive of the FRSB, said: “Charities deliver a raft of critical services and awareness programmes across the capital that simply wouldn’t be possible without donations from the public.

“It is deeply concerning to us at the FRSB that criminals might take advantage of the generosity and trust of supporters, diverting much-needed funding from the cause.

“Londoners should be encouraged that the large majority of charity collections are genuine and carried out by fundraisers that adhere to best practice standards.”

Six ways to avoid being duped:

• Check the charity’s name and registration number on the Charity Commission's website before making a donation

• Genuine fundraising materials should feature the charity’s name, registered name and a landline contact number. Be wary of those that list only a mobile number

• Look for the FRSB tick logo indicating that the charity is signed up to fundraising regulation

• Check that collectors have proper ID and that any collection tin is sealed

• Fundraisers require a licence from the police to collect in a public place. Check that they have this. If the collection is in a privately owned place, including shopping centres and train stations, and check that they have the owner’s permission

• If in doubt, ask the collector for more information - a genuine fundraiser will always be happy to explain more about the work of the charity.