The Charity Commission has reported a number of cases of identity theft to Action Fraud, the national centre for cyber-crime.

The Commission became concerned after Sarah Atkinson, its director of policy, planning and communications, was contacted by a number of people who had been sent paperwork allegedly carrying her name and signature.

The organisations targeted, which are sometimes charities, had been contacted out of the blue and offered money from a charitable trust. The fraudsters were either looking to extract cash for bogus administrative fees or seeking to find out personal information for future use.

In one case, somebody supposedly from a UK trust contacted a Christian charitable mission in America to offer a “donation” of £2.8m, and included a confirmation form supposedly authorised and signed by Ms Atkinson.

Ms Atkinson told the Daily Telegraph: “These people are trying to play on people’s charitable goodwill. It’s quite heart-breaking and it worries us deeply that people will take these things in good faith and lose their money.

“The motivation to trust in people to get charitable work off the ground is very high with the people being targeted.”

A Commission spokesperson said: “Always question unsolicited calls, texts or emails requesting your personal or financial information. Instead, contact the company directly using a known email or phone number.”