– The New Jersey Division of Consumer
Affairs today issued posters and flyers
in Japanese and other Asian languages, with
the important message “Before you
Donate to Help Those Affected by the Disaster
in Japan: Beware of Fraudulent Charities.”
Jersey citizens of every ethnic background
are watching the immense suffering in Japan,
and they are moved to help in any way possible.
At times like these, many legitimate charities
begin seeking donations for relief efforts.
Unfortunately, disasters also attract con
artists who set up fraudulent charities
that do nothing but fleece donors out of
their money,” Thomas R. Calcagni,
Acting Director of the Division of Consumer
Affairs, said. “Before you donate,
investigate. We can help you determine whether
a charity is legitimate, and how that charity
has used its donations in the past.”
posters, available in Japanese, Korean,
and Mandarin, as well as in English and
Spanish, provide basic tips for consumers
to learn about charities. Division of Consumer
Affairs investigators this week will provide
copies of the posters at Asian supermarkets
and other locations as needed.
posters are also available for download:
documents include the following tips:
to charities you know and trust. Never
give to a charity you know nothing about.
Ask for literature and read it. Ask questions.
Honest charities encourage you to do so.
Consumer Affairs’ Charities Hotline
at 973-504-6215 or www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov/charity/chardir.htm
to learn about specific charities. You
can confirm whether a charity is registered
or is exempt from registration requirements.
You can also learn about the charity’s
most recently reported financial information,
including how much the charity reported
spending on programs, fundraising, and
you can check the Division’s new
list of the Top 10 Most Inquired-About
Charities, which was launched last week
and will be updated every two months,
be fooled by a convincing name. A dishonest
charity will often have an impressive
name or one that closely resembles the
name of a respected, legitimate organization.
succumb to pressure. Don’t let yourself
be pressured into giving, and don’t
feel you have to contribute on the spot.
No legitimate organization will expect
you to contribute immediately, even if
you have given in the past.
if the charity uses a professional fundraiser
and, if so, what percentage of your contribution
will actually go toward relief efforts
and how much will be used to pay the fundraiser.
of unsolicited and phony email notices
that claim to be from a charity asking
for your credit card information. This
scam is called “phishing”
and could be used by thieves to commit
identity theft. If the charity is unfamiliar
to you, check whether the group is registered
with Consumer Affairs’ Charities
Section. If the organization is registered
or you know the organization, call directly
to find out if the email notice is valid.
who believe they have been cheated or scammed
by a business, or suspect any other form
of consumer abuse, can file a complaint
with the State Division of Consumer Affairs
by visiting its website, www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov,
or by calling 1-800-242-5846
(toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504-6200.