rap # 229 12/13/11
USE CAUTION, COMMON SENSE WHEN MAKING CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
ĎTIS THE SEASON of giving and for many itís a holiday tradition to make a donation and help the less fortunate.
But like the classic tale of Scrooge, there are those out there who would forgo the needy and instead put the
money in their own pocket.
"Unfortunately, the holidays often see a jump in the number of fraudulent Ďcharitiesí reported to our Ocean County
Office of Consumer Affairs," said Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari.
Vicari said itís important that residents thoroughly investigate a charity before making an initial contribution.
All charities doing business in NJ that raise more than $10,000 annually must be registered with the state, he said.
Other tips consumers should know before donating include:
"The best advice we can give is to do your homework before signing that check," Vicari said. "With so many people in need,
we all want to ensure that every dime we donate goes those who need it."
- Know your charity " never give to a charity you know nothing about. Get literature and ask questions. Honest charities
encourage you to do so.
- Donít be fooled by a convincing name " dishonest charities often have impressive names or one that closely resembles a
- Demand Identification from any solicitor.
- Beware of telephone solicitations " ask to be sent written information
- Beware the tearjerker " a pathetic "sob story" is a favorite of fraudulent operators.
- Never give your credit card number over the phone.
- Donít respond to letters saying you pledged a donation unless you are certain you did.
- Donít pay attention to harassing letters " a reputable charity might send a polite reminder, but will not pester you.
If looking to donate to a benevolent organization, keep in mind the following:
- Simply having the words "police" or "firefighter" in the name does not mean the organization is legitimate.
- Contributions are not always distributed locally or used for public safety purposes.
- Most solicitations are made by paid professional fund-raisers (must be registered regardless of amount raised). In NJ they
are required by law to identify themselves as such; name their company; and name the organization for which they are
- Donations to some police or firefighter groups may not be tax deductible.
To check out a charity before donating go online at www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov/charity/chrdir.htm or call 973-504-6215.