New Britain Police Officer Carol Zesut has made up a new brochure in order to help residents gain information about fraud and other police items.
“It is something new that I will eventually give out,” said Zesut. “There are a lot of things people need to be reminded of in it.
One of the topics is “GIVE TO THE NEEDY, NOT THE GREEDY”.
She said before you donate remember these tips.
- Do not give cash
- Do not give out your credit card number
- Write a check payable only to the charity, not to an individual collecting a donation
- Do not be pressured into giving
- Find out if a charity and its fundraisers are registered with the State of Connecticut
- Do not give to a charity because you were sent a “gift” or just received a “free prize”
- Do not be fooled by names that sound similar to a legitimate charity
- Do not pay for something that you didn’t order
- Beware of organizations offering to send a courier to pick up your donation
- Take time to get as much information and learn as much as you can about the organization before you decide to make a contribution
- Do not do business over the phone, ask for information in the mail
- Give directly to the charity of your choice. This cuts out the middleman and ensures your money will go where you intend
- Check out the charity with impartial sources
- Beware of appeals that are long on emotion but short on fact
Zesut said to always ask questions before you donate such as the full name of the person or organization, the phone number and address, the headquarters address, does the charity have a local office, how long has it been operating, what will your contribution be used for, is it tax deductible, how much goes directly to the charity, will you send printed literature about the charity, it goals, programs, and expenses, including a current financial statement and more.
“These kinds of questions are so important,” said Zesut. “If they can’t answer them, then hang-up.”
Another place thieves hit involve banking.
“Many criminals know when the government checks arrive each month and may pick that day to attack,” according to the brochure. “Avoid this by using direct deposit, which sends your money from the government to the bank of your choice. At many banks free accounts are available to seniors. Your bank has all the information. You should store valuables in a safe box.”
Use ATM’s at well lit locations or bank inside a store. Avoid ATM’s located in small convenience stores, once you enter your pin number, move aside so the ATM camera will capture the area around you in case of a robbery or assault. The suspect will be on film. Be aware of any unusual equipment that may be attached to the ATM machine. Don’t use this machine. It may be scanning your pin number etc. Report it and move to a different ATM machine. Always ask for and take your ATM receipt.
Other items in the booklet include court orders, restraining orders, winter safety tips, wire transfers, driving tips, home tips, walking tips, public transportation information and scams.