Watch out for holiday scams
Press release
November 25, 2009

Watch out for holiday scams

Watch out for holiday scams
Press release
November 25, 2009

The atmosphere of generosity during the holidays creates

golden opportunity for scam artists to siphon that goodwill for their own


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


  • 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.