Watch out for holiday scams
    November 25 2009 by Press release

    The atmosphere of generosity during the holidays creates golden opportunity for scam artists to siphon that goodwill for their own benefit.

    stock.xchng photo by nosheep

    Beware for scams during the holiday season.

    “It is important to make certain your generosity is received by those who need it most,” says Lawrence Loesch, vice president for AlliedBarton Security Services and former New York Police Department officer. He warns people to use their heads when their hearts are tugged by requests.

    Some warnings include:

    • Look-alike charities — Watch out for charities with names similar to well-known organizations. Always investigate the organization before making a donation.  Look at their websites. Many non-profit web addresses end in .org instead of .com.  
    • Phone scams — Be cautious of charities that contact you over the phone. Ask the solicitor for the charity’s mailing address so you can send them a check directly. When in doubt, call the charity yourself and ask them if they’re aware of the solicitations being done in their name.
    • Know your charity — Many more organizations push for donations during the holidays. Research your charity before making the decision to donate. If they offer you very little information, they may not be legitimate. A legitimate charity will give you information describing its mission, how donations are distributed and proof that your contribution is tax deductible.
    • How is your donation used? How much of your money actually goes to the charitable cause? Most charities are required to register and file annual reports showing how donations are used. You can ask how to find this information at your state or local consumer protection agency.
    • Contribution collectors — Individuals who go door-to-door or position themselves in high traffic areas should be carrying proper credentials and identification.  These individuals should be knowledgeable about the organization and be able to provide you with informative materials about the charity. Ask for written information and the solicitor’s identification to validate the organization. For security and tax record purposes, it’s important to pay by check when giving a contribution and write the charity’s official name on the check.
    • Mail scams — Holiday greetings may not be the only thing crowding your mailbox. This time of year, watch for appeals for donations. If you do not recognize the name of a particular charity, you can check out their legitimacy as well as their efficiency with your money at the BBB Wise Giving Alliance web site, www.give.org.
    • E-mail scams — Be skeptical of e-mails seeking charitable contributions. Many unsolicited messages received through email are fraudulent. Additionally, a fraudulent charity e-mail may have an attachment, offering you more information. Be aware, as many times these attachments contain viruses. Avoid any charity e-mail or web site that requires you to enter you social security number.
    • Promised prizes — Be cautious of guaranteed sweepstakes winnings in exchange for your contribution. Fraudulent sweepstake mailers encourage consumers to return the apparent ‘winning’ entry along with a donation to the charity named in the promotion. Be skeptical if a solicitor thanks you for a contribution you don’t remember giving.
    • Adamant demands — Refuse any high-pressure requests for your contribution. Legitimate charities don’t require people to give at a moment’s notice. An established charity will still be willing to accept your donation, even if you take some time to research first.
    11/25/2009 5:37:00 AM by Press release | with 1 comments




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-Sandy
11/26/2009 5:12:56 AM

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