BE AWARE OF FRAUD AND SCAMS:
The public is constantly at risk of
being prey to a variety of schemes and scams by individuals.
There is no way to describe a con artist other than he
or she can be of any ethnic origin, religious affiliation, age group, or race.
The general rule of thumb is: “IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE - IT PROBABLY IS”
can protect yourself from a potential flim flam scam. Utilize common sense and fully investigate any solicitor. If the person
is legitimate and is employed with a bonafide and reputable company, that representative will not hesitate to provide the
consumer with all necessary and pertinent information concerning the potential transaction. It is the illegitimate individual
that says, “This deal is only good today”, or “You have to make up your mind right now”. Be skeptical
of these persons. Here are three major categories of scams you may want to consider before saying yes to any solicitor.
The telephone rings and a fast talking representative of
some good sounding company advises you that you are a “winner” if you act
“now”. All too often these individuals are out to defraud you of your hard
earned savings. Never give caller
your name, address, social security number or bank account number.
Instead, ask them for their credentials.
If you are uncertain as to the validity of the caller, charity or agency, always check
with your local police.
TO DOOR SOLICITATION:
Reputable businesses advertise in newspapers, operate through customer
referrals, appear in the yellow pages of your telephone book, and do not normally solicit
door to door. Anyone appearing at your doorway asking to give you an estimate for work or
remove debris after a storm or flood should arouse your immediate suspicion. Many times these individuals work
in pairs, while the homeowner is distracted, the accomplice is cleaning out the belongings
of your home.
With the emergence of the computer age, individuals should be skeptical regarding inquiries
and purchases with unknown vendors of the “on line” community. Exercising caution and common
sense, and the lack of providing personal information to these sources will prevent
you the consumer from fraudulent
GIVE TO THE NEEDY, NOT THE GREEDY
BEFORE YOU DONATE, REMEMBER
DO NOT give out your credit card number.
Write a check payable only
to the charity.
Do NOT be pressured into giving.
Find out if the charity
and its fundraisers are registered by contacting the Division of Consumer
Affairs at (973) 504-6200.
DO NOT give
to a charity because you were sent a gift or just to receive a free prize.
NOT be fooled by names that sound similar to a legitimate charity.
organization offering to send a courier to pick up your donation.
DO NOT do business
over the telephone, ask for information in the mail
BEWARE of appeals
that are long on emotion and short on fact.
What is your full name?
What is the phone number
and address you are calling from?
is the name of the charity you are representing?
What is your headquarters address?
is the telephone number?
Does the charity have a local office in the area?
has the charity been operating?
are the goals and purposes?
How will my donation be used?
my contribution tax deductible?
How much of my donation will go directly to the charity?
SAFETY IN THE HOME:
Secure your home with locking devices and alarms for
doors and windows.
Have good interior and exterior lighting.
Use timer devices and motion detectors to make your house appear occupied
at all times. Play the radio or television. Have a life size dummy sit in a chair
facing the TV. Do not pin notes to the door.
Do not allow your mail or newspapers to accumulate while you are away.
Women living alone should not list their first names on mailboxes or in the telephone directory.
Have a peep hole
in the entrance door. Do not allow children to answer the door. Always know a person
before admitting them into your house. Insist on
Do not open the door for anyone in distress. Tell them that you will call for the police and/or
an ambulance. Never allow anyone to come
into your home to use your phone.
Do not record anything on your answering machine that would indicate that you
are not home or that you won’t be home for an extended period of time.
Have a trusted neighbor watch your home
while you are away.
Do not leave a key under the mat or anywhere outside your
home. Do not keep an extra key in your purse. Leave it with a trusted neighbor or friend.
Draw your shades
and drapes at night.
Keep a telephone accessible in all areas of your house. Cordless or cellular phones may be more
mobile. If your phone lines are damaged or tampered with, a cell phone would be most useful.
personal information to an unknown caller. If it is necessary to give out information over the phone, take the
phone number of the caller and call them back to verify their identity.
Report suspicious and/or obscene phone calls
to the police
Install caller ID and learn about other tracing features from your phone company. You should
be aware that you could give your phone number to a stranger by calling a wrong number or answering an advertisement,
if that person has caller ID. Block your number by first dialing *67, then the number.
Do not skimp with security hardware.
Use heavy-duty bolts and longer, more durable screws. Be suspicious of all service people including
plainclothes police. Absolutely insist on identification. Police officers will always
have a badge, but more importantly they will have photo identification. Make sure the
picture matches the person. If you still are not satisfied, call the police station
or the office of the person wishing to gain entry to your home.
House numbers should be visible day and night from the street.
your locks. An unlocked lock is not a lock, habitually locking the home, closing and locking garage
doors, must be a routine habit.
attempt to hide a key in a “secret” location. The burglar knows these locations
as well as you.
Lighting is important.
Turn on interior lamps with a timer. External lighting is also important, but exclusive use
of outside lighting when the home is unoccupied may actually tip off the burglar.
Use photoelectric cells to turn the light on at dusk and
off at daybreak. Make sure your house looks
When going on vacation remember the following:
Secure your home and leave the lights and radio on timer.
Leave a key with a trusted neighbor.
Have a neighbor pick up newspapers and
Use timers on
light and radio when not at home.
Secure basement windows.