Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino and Councilman Lou Imbroto caution residents who leave donations in collection bins to make sure the organizations behind those bins have good intentions. Particularly during the holiday season, Town officials have witnessed a proliferation in illegally-placed bins asking residents to drop off clothing or toy donations. Many of these structures appear to be homemade, contain stencil lettering and no sign of legitimacy.
“With the holiday season upon us, many people are looking for ways to help others, especially during this pandemic,” said Supervisor Saladino. “Unfortunately this time of year is also when we begin to see this particular type of scam. We want to make sure our residents are vigilant when it comes to making donations, and to be sure they are contributing to a legitimate, well-intentioned organization.”
While collections bins are not permitted in Town of Oyster Bay operated lots, some well-intentioned businesses that authorize donation bins may not be aware of some are fraudulent. Residents should be aware of the following warning signs:
· Collection bins with no identification
· Overflowing, non-maintained donation bins
· Donations being requested over the phone
· Acknowledgement of a donation never made
· Requests for personal identification, including social security number
Town officials have removed these illegally-placed bins in the past after learning that donations were allegedly being improperly collected and sold for profit. Any residents who see these type of donation bins in their community in the Town of Oyster Bay should contact the Town’s Code Compliance Bureau at (516) 624-6200.
“As we approach the holiday season, we want residents to be certain that donations made out of the goodness of their hearts are going to the intended place,” added Councilman Imbroto. “Overall, just be cautious and remain vigilant to protect yourself, protect your personal information and protect your well-intentioned donations.”
To learn how charities spend donation monies, residents can visit charitynavigator.org or charitywatch.org. To determine is a charity is registered in New York State, visit the State Attorney General’s website at www.charitiesnys.com or call (212) 416-8401.