Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano and the Nassau County Office of Consumer Affairs today issued a Consumer Alert to prevent scammers from taking advantage of residents this holiday season.
Residents are encouraged to be cautious of charities that:
• Ask for donations over the phone.
• Use a name that is very similar to a well-known charity.
• Thank you for a donation you never made.
• Use high-pressure sales tactics or emotional pleas to get you to donate immediately.
Scammers use “spoofing” technology to appear to be a legitimate charity organization when they are not. Ask the caller to send a solicitation request via the mail.
Residents are also urged to be especially careful with any charity using “police”, “firefighter” or “veterans” in their name. Quite often they have no connection to any legitimate organizations. Residents should also be wary of solicitations to help victims of a recent disaster, including Hurricane Sandy, the Philippine typhoon and Midwest tornadoes.
Take the following precautions:
• Never provide your credit card or bank account information until you check out the charity.
• Ask for the charity’s name, address and phone number. Search online and look for a history of scams and complaints.
• Check to see if the charity is registered in New York State by calling (212) 416-8401 or log on to http://www.charitiesnys.com/RegistrySearch/search_charities.jsp
Make sure your contribution is actually going to assist people in need. Legitimate charities donate 60% to 99% of the funds they collect while others utilize the money to pay salary expenses and administrative fees. Residents can determine how charities spend donations by visiting, http://www.charitynavigator.org or by calling (201) 818-1288. Residents can also visit http://www.charitywatch.org or call (773) 529-2300.