Charity warns of street collecting scam abusing their name

Lives Not Knives has received complaints of harassment and aggressive fund-raisers passing themselves off as volunteers for the charity in Bristol, Nottingham, Brixton, St Albans and Kings Cross

A Croydon-based charity that works to reduce youth knife crime has been forced to issue a public statement to distance itself from aggressive fund-raisers who are accused of harassing shoppers and passers-by on high streets across the country – though not in Croydon.

Eliza Ribeiro founded Lives Not Knives with her mother, Monique, 15 years ago after one of her friends was killed in a knife attack. Today, the charity operates in Croydon and across the capital with a series of in-school sessions, mentoring and outreach programmes.

But there’s a serious and genuine concern that the charity’s good name and reputation could be damaged by the conduct of individuals, possibly an organised group, who appear to be passing themselves off as fund-raisers for Lives Not Knives, when they are not. Charity experts spoken to by Inside Croydon suggest that what is happening is most likely a scam, and potentially a form of fraud, abusing the name and reputation of a blame-free charity.

The LNK statement, published across their social media platforms last week, says, “Over the last year and a half we’ve been contacted by members of the public who have been ‘aggressively approached’ and felt ‘harrassed’ by street fundraisers.

“They have mistaken our charity with another and sent a number of complaints…

“LNK work in schools and from the LNK unit based in Croydon and do not have a street team or pay anyone to fundraise for us.”

Warning: the LNK statement issued last week

The charity also encouraged the public to “find out more about [charities] they are donating to in order to avoid confusion”.

The statement was an effort by Ribeiro and her team to put into the public domain something which they hope will distance them from further complaints, and any attempt to abuse LNK’s reputation.

“With the amount of emails we’ve received,” Ribeiro told Inside Croydon, “I believe it’s more organised, they are operating in Kings Cross, Brixton, Ladbroke Grove, Nottingham, Bristol, St Albans – everywhere except Croydon!”

And Ribeiro has received eye-witness accounts that suggest that the confusion created about what charity these “chuggers” are claiming to represent is far from just an accident.

“My colleague was approached by a group of three in the same T-shirt and blue jacket with a picture of a knife with a stop sign across it, saying they are from Lives Not Knives. However, when my colleague told them, ‘We are Lives Not Knives and we don’t know them’, they have said ‘Oh, don’t worry then’, and walk off.”

Ribeiro also showed Inside Croydon some of the complaints that LNK has received over the course of the past year about the conduct of the street fundraisers.

One told of how they had been asked for their mobile phone number, on the pretence that it was so that they could be sent a receipt. When they were later pursued by text messages full of flirt emojis, the complainant said, “I find this behaviour is incredibly unprofessional and very disgusting, using a charity in order to get someone’s contact details. This is totally unacceptable. And against the GDPR laws.”

Another wrote, “Today I was stopped by a volunteer who claimed he is part of your organisation in Cabot Circus, Bristol. He asked for donations. He had a card reader machine. I told him I will give you cash.

“When I gave him the money he was asking for more and too pushy. That’s why I’m doubtful that he is not really one of your volunteers.

Concerned: LNK co-founder Eliza Ribeiro

“Also, he touched me on my hand twice, and was trying to touch me and my son too much.

“I want to let you know about this incident to confirm if he is working with you or he us a scammer using your organisation name to collect donations. If he is working with you he needs to stop being pushy and stop touching women and children.”

Ribeiro, who stresses that LNK has never used street collectors, said, “This is only a brief email from two people. We have received countless more.”

Ribeiro says that Lives Not Knives has filed a report with the Charity Commission, although the watchdog has limited powers in cases such as these.

If any member of the public is suspicious about the conduct of people collecting donations in the street, or has a complaint about the manner in which they conduct themselves, they should contact their local police.

If you want to find out more about Lives Not Knives, and support the work that they do, visit their website by clicking here. It’s guaranteed hassle-free.

Become a Patron!

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in Charity, Crime, Knife crime and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply