Long Island officials warn residents about uptick in donation bin scams

SYOSSET, Long Island (WABC) -- Residents on Long Island are being warned about an uptick in donation bin scams as the holiday season kicks into full gear.

Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino and Councilwoman Michele Johnson displayed some of the scam donation bins that have been removed from public property in a press conference on Thursday.

Saladino says about a dozen illegally placed bins were removed after authorities learned that donations were allegedly being improperly collected and sold for profit.

"These wooden structures have been popping up in parking lots throughout our town, with stencil lettering and no sign of legitimacy," Saladino said. "The Town Highway Department swiftly removed these illegal bins and caution residents to make certain they are donating to a legitimate, well-intentioned organization."

Nassau County officials say an uptick in these fake bins have been noticed as the holiday season begins to ramp up.

"They look similar to the boxes you see around town that reputable organizations own," Saladino said. "But these are makeshift, and these clothes are not going as donations to the less fortunate. They're being sold, and that's something that's deplorable."

They say residents should be aware of warning signs such as bins with no identification, overflowing bins, donations being requested over the phone and requests for personal identification.

"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," Johnson said.

Residents can determine if a charity is registered in New York State by visiting CharitiesNYS.com/RegistrySearch/search_charities.jsp or calling (212) 416-8401.

To determine how charities spend donation monies, visit CharityNavigator.org or CharityWatch.org.

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