Latest Consumer Alert

Our mission is to assist consumers and businesses of Ocean County. The department staff is trained to make certain best practices are adhered to.

The distribution of consumer educational material and participation in organized events throughout Ocean County provides the Department with direct communication to the residents of Ocean County.

As the Ocean County Department of Consumer Affairs receives updates from the state regarding current consumer alerts and product safety, we urge you to check back here for the latest news and information.

Latest Consumer Alert:
OCEAN COUNTY’S Freeholders encourage residents to open their pocketbooks and wallets to help the Japanese, but they also advise caution when choosing a charity.

“Unfortunately, after a disaster of this magnitude strikes so do those who wish to profit from the generosity of others,” said Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari. “Beware of charitable organizations that may have magically come into being overnight following the disaster.”

Vicari, who is also liaison to the Ocean County Department of Consumer Affairs, recommended that residents carefully research any charity before offering a donation.
“If you’re not sure, don’t send the check,” Vicari said.

Donations can safely be made to recognized charities such as the American Red Cross, which has set up a dedicated Japanese earthquake and Tsunami fund, he said.

“Also beware any unsolicited or high-pressure phone calls that request a credit card number or other personal information,” Vicari said.

The Ocean County Department of Consumer Affairs offers other tips on how to safely donate to a charity. They include:

• Know your Charity. Never give to a charity you know nothing about. Ask for literature and read it. Ask questions. Honest charities encourage you to do so.

• Don’t Be Fooled by a Convincing Name. A dishonest charity will often have an impressive name or one that closely resembles the name of a legitimate concern.

• Demand Identification. Always ask to see identification for both the solicitor and the charity. Be suspicious of anyone who can’t respond satisfactorily.

• Beware of Telephone Solicitations. Refuse to commit yourself on the first call. If the charity sounds worthwhile, ask to be sent written information.

• Don’t Fall for the Tearjerker. Don’t give because of a pathetic “sob story.” The hard luck tale is a favorite of fraudulent operators.

• Don’t 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.

•Check Out Mail Solicitations. Mail solicitations are often accompanied by a trinket or other item that you are told you can keep if you contribute. Federal law says that unless you asked for the item, you may keep it without making a contribution.

For more information on charitable donations, contact the Ocean County Department of Consumer Affairs at 732-929-2105