Archive for the ‘Department of Professional and Financial Regulation’ Category

New state program helps fight elder financial abuse

CONSUMER FORUM

By Russ Van Arsdale, Executive Director Northeast CONTACT
Posted Feb. 16, 2014, at 10:20 a.m.

A family member moved in to help an ailing 75-year-old Penobscot County woman with housework. After just two days there, she persuaded the older woman to sign the home over to her, saying this would help if the woman needed long-term care. Three months later, an eviction notice came.

In Androscoggin County, a woman convinced her 78-year-old mother that it was time to sell her house and move in with her daughter and the daughter’s husband. The couple promised to look after her medical and financial needs. Soon afterward, in the heat of summer, the woman moved her elderly mother into a camper trailer in the couple’s backyard. More than two years, the couple spent all her money and left her homeless and unqualified for Mainecare. Her health declined to the point that she needed nursing home care.

These two examples of the financial abuse of older Mainers are repeated, not just daily but many times every day. In these two cases, the victims complained to Legal Services for the Elderly, and that group’s intervention helped to ease the impact. But thousands more cases are reported every year, and many more cases go unreported.

The Bangor Daily News reported last week on a new effort to head off elder financial abuse. The initiative, called Senior$afe, aims to train employees of banks and credit unions to spot signs of financial abuse at the teller’s window, drive-through or other places where relatives or others might make transactions that are not in the best interest of the account holder.

Financial abuse can happen when a senior gives power of attorney to a family member, friend or other trusted person. That power can be abused when it’s used to take advantage of the senior’s credit, secure their property or the proceeds of sales, and even threaten harm if seniors don’t hand over cash.

The Senior$afe program will provide training to front-line employees to watch for unusual activity, such as a series of checks written to one person or large cash withdrawals. Officials say 200 people have been trained and would share their new knowledge with others at their workplaces.

For example, if a suspected victim comes into a bank or credit union alone and asks to make a large cash withdrawal, the employee might try to engage the senior in casual conversation. If someone else is with the senior, the employee might instead refer the matter to authorities who could begin an investigation.

Senior$afe is spearheaded by the Maine Council for Elder Abuse Prevention, Maine Bankers Association, Maine Credit Union League, the Maine departments of Professional and Financial Regulation and Health and Human Services, and Legal Services for the Elderly. Training is also planned for financial institution managers, who might refer troubling matters to authorities.

Jaye Martin is executive director of Legal Services for the Elderly and a member of the Maine Council for Elder Abuse Prevention. She says Senior$afe is the first program of its kind in the country. Maine Securities Administrator Judith Shaw, who co-chairs the council, said the effort will help.

“Giving front line bank and credit union personnel the tools to identify suspected elder abuse will help protect Maine’s seniors before the financial damage becomes too great,” Shaw says.

If you suspect that a senior is being abused, financially or otherwise, you can call Maine Adult Protective Services at www.maine.gov/dhhs/oads/aging or call 1-800-624-8404.

Consumer Forum is a collaboration of the Bangor Daily News and Northeast CONTACT, Maine’s all-volunteer, nonprofit consumer organization. For assistance with consumer-related issues, including consumer fraud and identity theft, or for information, write Consumer Forum, P.O. Box 486, Brewer 04412, visit http://necontact.wordpress.com or email contacexdir@live.com.

 

 

Department of Professional and Financial Regulation Offers Guidance for End of Year Charitable Contributions

Charitable Scams Can be More Prevalent This Time of Year  

GARDINER  –  As many Maine families consider holiday season and end of year charitable contributions, Governor Paul R. LePage and Commissioner Anne Head from the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation are encouraging Maine residents to check the legitimacy of unknown charities.  Potential donors are urged to always research charitable organizations before making a donation.  A quick check with the Department can provide information to help in determining whether a charity is legitimate or a scam.

“Maine people are well known for lending a hand to others and for supporting charities,” Governor LePage said.  “We saw that earlier this week with the successful conclusion of the Maine State Employees Combined Charitable, which has raised nearly $270,000 to help those in need.  We always encourage charitable giving and want to assist donors in directing their support to legitimate charities.”

Charitable organizations are required to be licensed with the Department’s Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation, which collects information about charitable activity in Maine and makes it available to the public.

“Charitable solicitation scams aren’t new, but they sometimes increase during the holiday season, at the end of the year, and in the aftermath of tragedies,” Commissioner Head said.  “It’s important for the public to know that guidance and resources are available to assist people in making sure their contributions are going to real charities.”

Commissioner Head advises individuals to ask questions and seek printed information about unknown charities; to confirm their legitimacy with regulators; to never send cash or wire money when requested to do so; to always keep receipts of donations; and to report concerns or complaints about questionable solicitations with the Department and law enforcement.

Information about charities can be obtained through the Department’s website (www.maine.gov/pfr), specifically atwww.maine.gov/pfr/professionallicensing/professions/charitable. Links allow for the search of licensed charitable organizations, as well as disciplinary actions.  Questions and complaints can also be made by calling the Charitable Solicitations Program at 207-624-8525.

Additional tips and advice accompany this news release and can also be obtained from the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov/charityfraud/).

The Department of Professional and Financial Regulation protects the citizens of Maine and supports the economy through the oversight of State-chartered financial institutions, the insurance industry, grantors of consumer credit, the securities industry, and numerous professions providing services to the public.  More information is available at www.maine.gov/pfr.

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Tips and Advice When Considering Charitable Giving

December, 2013

  • Always research unknown charities before contributing.  And whether the charity is new or well established, you may wish to know what percentage of your contribution is spent on fundraising, employee compensation, or expenses which do not directly support the charity’s stated purpose.
  • Not all organizations with names that sound like charities are actually charities.  Some organizations select names that are similar to those of well-known charities.
  • Be cautious when contacted by telephone for a contribution.  Ask that the request be put in writing.  You may also want to ask if the caller is a paid solicitor or a volunteer for the charity.
  • Never give your bank account information or credit/debit card numbers to a caller.  And be wary if the person soliciting the contribution is willing to have someone rush to your home or business to meet with you and pick up a contribution.
  • If you wish to receive a tax deduction, make sure the organization has a tax deductible status with the Internal Revenue Service. “Tax exempt,” “non-profit,” and “tax deductible” mean different things.  Only “tax deductible” means contributions are deductible on your income tax return.  Visit the IRS website (www.irs.gov/charities) for more information.
  • Be wary of organizations which list only post office boxes or mail drop suite numbers as their address.  You may wish to inquire about the charity’s location.

 

Department of Professional and Financial Regulation Issues Warning to Consumers about an Unlicensed Former Certified Public Accountant

Press Release – December 4, 2013

GARDINER – Commissioner Anne L. Head of Maine’s Department of Professional and Financial Regulation warned consumers that Valerie Alex of Rockport has not had a license to practice as a Certified Public Accountant in Maine since 2010, and her certificate as a Certified Public Accountant (which is the basis upon which annual permits to practice are issued) was revoked more than a year ago by the Maine Board of Accountancy.

 In a September 19, 2012 order, Ms. Alex was found to have been holding herself out to the public as a CPA long after the expiration of both her individual and firm certified public accounting licenses.  The Board’s order also found that Ms. Alex had failed to comply with a prior Board order, issued in February 2012, resulting from her failure to properly file an income tax return, failure to follow-up with the IRS to resolve that matter, and failure to provide documents requested of her by the Maine Attorney General’s Office.  In the September order, Ms. Alex was ordered to remove her office signage in Warren, Maine and to shut-down her website www.valeriealexcpa.com.

Despite receiving a copy of the Board’s September 19, 2012 order, and subsequent contact from Board staff, Ms. Alex has continued to hold herself out to be a licensed CPA.  Ms. Alex has continued to advertise her CPA firm through signage in Warren and through her website, which advertises the firm’s work with the motto “Quality. Service. Ethics”.

At a meeting of the Board of Accountancy held in November, 2013, members expressed concern that Ms. Alex has continued to ignore the Board’s 2012 order.  It has referred the matter to the Maine Attorney General’s Office for further enforcement action.

“Consumers should be aware that Valerie Alex’s certificate as a Certified Public Accountant has been revoked.  She is not a Certified Public Accountant,” Commissioner Head said.  “Her certificate has been revoked because of a history and pattern of misconduct and failure to comply with orders of the Maine Board of Accountancy.  Although she has continued to advertise herself as a Certified Public Accountant, consumers should not hire her to perform work as a certified public accountant.”

Ms. Alex was additionally the subject of Board disciplinary action in 2005.  The most recent order of the Board can be obtained.

Consumers can check the license status of accountants and licensees in nearly 40 other professions by visiting www.maine.gov/pfr(direct link to list of professions:
www.maine.gov/pfr/professionallicensing/professions.htm).

 

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TD Bank mum about mailing error – Portland Press Herald

Some customers received other people’s account information, but officials won’t say if Mainers are affected.

By Scott Dolan sdolan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer
Posted: September 27, 2013
Updated: Today at 2:15 AM

PORTLAND — TD Bank officials would not reveal details Friday about a mailing error in which some customers in New Hampshire and Vermont got other people’s financial information with their own bank statements.

The bank said it was unclear whether any customers in Maine were affected, either by receiving other people’s information or having their own information sent to other customers.

The bank acknowledged that an unspecified number of customers in New Hampshire and Vermont received mailed bank statements printed by a third-party vendor that had other customers’ information on them. But the bank, one of the nation’s 10 largest banks, would not reveal the full extent of the problem.

A TD Bank spokeswoman, Kate Toy, said Friday afternoon that she had no information on whether the problem extended to Maine customers.

“I can’t share the name of the vendor. I can’t provide any additional information on the location or number of impacted customers,” Toy said via email. “We are contacting all customers who are impacted by this incident and will offer two years of credit monitoring services at no charge. At the same time we are working with our vendor to make enhancements to ensure this does not happen in the future.”

TD Bank said the error is not considered a security breach or fraud. Under Maine law, companies are required to disclose information about data breaches or losses, although no formal timetable governs how or when companies must notify customers. Last year, as many as 267,000 TD Bank customers were affected by the loss of two data backup tapes that contained personal information such as Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers. That data loss affected 34,907 residents in Maine. The company took six months to alert the attorneys general in the affected states.

The data loss affected customers in at least six states, and included names, addresses, dates of birth and account numbers. Customers in Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maryland and California were affected.

Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at:

sdolan@pressherald.com

Car wrapping scam – WABI-TV

Russ Van Arsdale and Joy discuss a scam alert press release from Department of Professional and Financial Regulation.  E-mail contact offers opportunity to make money with advertising wrapping of target’s car. The scammer then sends the individual a check asking victim to wire back most of the amount and to keep a few hundred dollars. This scam is known as an advance check scam.

To get help if a victim of this scam or to get more information on scams like these you can contact, Maine’s Office of Securities at 1-877-624-8551, or you can call the Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection at 1-800-332-8529 or visit their website at credit.maine.gov

FTC website to check out about fake check scams.

VIDEO of appearance

Department of Professional and Financial Regulation Encourages Seniors and Caregivers to Utilize State Resources to Protect Against Elder Abuse and to Report Suspected Cases

‘Crime of the 21st Century’ under-reported, causing untold pain & suffering and costing an estimated $2.9 billion nationally each year

GARDINER – Calling elder abuse one of the most under-reported and fasting growing crimes of the 21st century, Commissioner Anne L. Head and other officials with Maine’s Department of Professional and Financial Regulation (DPFR) joined Governor Paul R. LePage in highlighting the June 15th observance of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day by urging seniors and caregivers to utilize state agency resources to protect themselves, and encouraging them to report cases of suspected abuse.

Officials are also highlighting an effort by the Maine Council on Elder Abuse Prevention, which is encouraging businesses and nonprofits to post “No Excuse for Elder Abuse: World Elder Abuse Day, June 15th” on their signage.

“Financial abuse, which includes investment fraud and exploitation, is among the most common forms of elder abuse, costing its victims an estimated $2.9 billion a year,” Commissioner Head said. “Because these crimes are often committed by caregivers, family members or trusted financial advisers, they go unreported in too many cases.”

Maine’s Office of Securities, an agency within DPFR, emphasizes that investment scams targeting seniors are increasingly prevalent and particularly troubling. Securities Administrator Judith Shaw, who co-chairs the Maine Council on Elder Abuse Prevention, noted the importance of reporting suspected cases. “Maine’s Office of Securities is committed to fighting elder financial exploitation, but our efforts are much more successful when people come forward to report their concerns.”

Administrator Shaw noted that the Office recently concluded a case in which a former New Hampshire stockbroker took nearly $200,000 from a senior couple in Aroostook County as part of an investment scheme. The perpetrator was sentenced to time in prison and ordered to pay restitution to the victims. “This case illustrates that strong action can be taken when problems are brought to light,” Shaw said. “Unfortunately, too few people speak up or they come forward after their life-savings has been depleted.”

Commissioner Head and Administrator Shaw encourage seniors and those who care for them to contact the Department for answers to questions or to obtain resources. The Office of Securities offers educational materials and personal assistance to consumers regarding safe investing and investment professionals by calling 1-877-624-8551. Information is also available at http://www.investors.maine.gov.

Additionally, the Downeaster Guide to Elder Financial Protection can be obtained from the Department’s Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection. The 32-page publication is free of charge to Maine residents by calling 1-800-332-8529 (1-800-DEBT-LAW). It can also be found at http://www.Credit.Maine.gov under “Publications”. The Department’s Bureau of Financial Institution offers a comprehensive online Consumer Library (www.maine.gov/pfr/financialinstitutions) with many resources of interest to seniors.

A partial list of State agencies and organizations in Maine providing information, services and education on elder abuse, including financial exploitation, accompanies this release

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Partial List of State Agencies and Organizations in Maine providing information, services and education on elder abuse, including financial exploitation:

Maine Office of Aging and Disability Services: www.maine.gov/dhhs/oads

1-800-262-2232 or 207-287-9200

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 Maine Adult Protective Services: www.maine.gov/dhhs/oes/aps

Hotline: 1-800-624-8404

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Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation:

(Five Agencies Offering a Wide Range of Assistance to Seniors and Caregivers) www.maine.gov/pfr

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Office of Securities: 1-877-624-8551

(Investment Questions of Concerns) www.investors.maine.gov

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Bureau of Financial Institutions: 1-800-965-5235

(Banking Questions or Concerns) www.maine.gov/pfr/financialinstitutions

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Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection: 1-800-332-8529

(Credit, Foreclosure, General Financial Scam Concerns) www.maine.gov/pfr/consumercredit

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Bureau of Insurance: 1-800-300-5000

(Insurance-related Questions or Concerns) www.maine.gov/pfr/insurance

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Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation: 624-8603

(Questions or Concerns Related to Licensed Professionals) www.maine.gov/pfr/professionallicensing

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Maine Area Agencies on Aging:

List of regional agencies with full contact information: http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/oes/resource/aaa.htm

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Legal Services for the Elderly: www.mainelse.org

1-800-750-5353

 

FTC Warns Consumers: Charity Scams Often Follow Disasters

Share Our Resources | Consumer Information.

In the wake of the devastating Tornado that hit suburban Oklahoma City on Monday, the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, reminds consumers that scams often follow disasters. If you’re asked to make a charitable donation to help people in disaster-affected areas, before you give, be sure your donations are going to a reputable organization that will use the money as promised.

Unfortunately, legitimate charities face competition from scammers who either collect for a charity that doesn’t exist or aren’t honest about how their “charity” will use the money you give.  Like legitimate charities, they might appeal for donations in person, by phone or mail, by e-mail, on websites, or on social networking sites.  For more on the questions to ask and for a list of groups that can help you research a charity, go to Charity Scams.

If you’re asked to make a charitable donation to support victims of the recent tornado, remember:

  • Donate to charities you know and trust. Be alert for charities that seem to have sprung up overnight in connection with current events, like a natural disaster.
  • Ask if a caller is a paid fundraiser, who they work for, and what percentage of your donation goes to the charity and to the fundraiser. If you don’t get a clear answer — or if you don’t like the answer you get — consider donating to a different organization.
  • Don’t give out personal or financial information — including your credit card or bank account number — unless you know the charity is reputable.
  • Never send cash: you can’t be sure the organization will receive your donation, and you won’t have a record for tax purposes.
  • Check out the charity with the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or GuideStar.
  • Find out if the charity or fundraiser must be registered in your state by contacting the NationalAssociation of State Charity Officials.

From Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation:

[Information about charities can be obtained through the Department’s website (www.maine.gov/pfr), specifically at www.maine.gov/pfr/professionallicensing/professions/charitable. Links allow for the search of licensed charitable organizations, as well as disciplinary actions.  Questions and complaints can also be made by calling the Charitable Solicitations Program at 207-624-8525.]

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.  Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

 

In Advance of Veterans Job Fair in Augusta, Governor and State Agency Highlight Initiative to Make Occupational Licensing Easier for Veterans

AUGUSTA – In advance of a major job fair for veterans and others in Augusta, Governor Paul R. LePage and Commissioner Anne Head are highlighting an initiative at the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation (DPFR) to make occupational licensing in several professions quicker and easier for veterans with relevant military training and experience.

Governor LePage and Commissioner Head are also encouraging veterans, members of the National Guard and the Reserves, and others seeking employment to attend the “Hiring Maine’s Heroes Job Fair” tomorrow, March 20th, at the Augusta Armory.   It will feature special programs and information about employment opportunities.  DPFR will staff a booth to provide details about the Department’s ongoing effort to assist veterans in applying military experience toward occupational licensing.  The job fair will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Augusta Armory, 179 Western Avenue.  The event is co-sponsored by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) and the Augusta CareerCenter.

The Governor has made it a priority to help Maine’s veterans–encouraging state agencies to provide assistance to those who served our nation in the military.  One such effort by the Governor and DPFR has been the implementation of Public Law Chapter 603, signed by the Governor last year.  The law is intended to ensure that veterans are given full credit for applicable military training and experience when they apply for an occupational license from the Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation at DPFR.

“The people of Maine owe a debt of gratitude to those who have served,” Governor LePage said.  “We have an obligation to recognize their knowledge and skills whenever possible and appropriate, and our economy needs their contributions.  I’m pleased to have worked with the Department and Legislature to make licensing easier for qualified veterans.”

More information can be obtained by calling DFPR at 207-624-8678.  Veterans are encouraged to contact DFPR before applying.  Military documentation that may be needed includes:

  • Copy of a DD Form 214, Report of Discharge; and
  • Copy of DD Form 2586, Verification of Military Experience and Training (VMET).

“The Department is committed to working with Maine veterans to make sure their skills and talents are fully evaluated and appreciated,” Commissioner Head noted.  “Whenever we can give veterans credit toward licensing requirements, based on their military experience, we intend to do so.  It’s in the best interest of veterans, our business community, and consumers seeking the services of electricians, plumbers and other professionals.”

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Look out for phony charities

CONSUMER FORUM

By Russ Van Arsdale, Executive Director, Northeast CONTACT
Posted Dec. 30, 2012, at 8:11 p.m.

As the end of the year approaches, many of us are thinking about charitable donations. Let’s face facts: Many donations are tax deductible, and many of us need all the deductions we can get.

Of course, the real reason to give is to support a cause that really needs your help. So, make sure when you give, that your money is going where you intend it to go.

That means staying away from nonprofits that may exist more for the benefit of professional fundraisers or overpaid executives than for people that really need help. Unfortunately, there are far too many of these types of “charities” around.

Some are created in response to natural disasters. “Storm chasers,” as they have become known, create websites even before a major storm strikes. The sites contain key words, like “relief,” to attract web searches. They have varying records in their effectiveness in providing real help to those in need after a storm.

The IRS issued reminders earlier this month, after more than 1,000 “relief” websites popped up following Hurricane Sandy:

  1. Give to recognized charities, and beware of sound-alike names (visit the IRS website, www.irs.gov, to find bona fide charities to which contributions are deductible).
  1. Don’t give out your financial or personal information, if you can’t be sure that data won’t be misused.
  1. Don’t give cash. Make donations by check, credit card or some other way that can be documented. And never make out a check in the name of the solicitor.

Scammers may claim to be affiliated with known organizations; sometimes they even use the official logo of a government or relief organization to gain a target’s trust.

Do your own research to be sure you know where your money is going. Keep your scam radar on high: Refuse solicitors who won’t answer questions about their cause; don’t give in to high pressure pitches; and if it’s a telephone solicitation, ask if the caller is a paid solicitor and, if so, what percent of money raised actually goes to the cause. You can always ask that your name be removed from a call list.

Scammers work other angles, too. Some file claims for storm damage that never occurred. Others claim to be doctors and ask for funds “to pay medical bills of injured people.” Once you give in to a phony solicitor, you can bet your name will be shared with other scammers.

Check websites like Charity Navigator and Guidestar that rate the effectiveness of charities. The Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance is another resource.

In Maine, check with the Charitable Solicitations Program, part of the state’s Department of Professional and Financial Regulation; call 624-8525 with questions about licensed solicitors or to file a complaint.

If you suspect someone’s perpetrating disaster fraud, notify the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (toll-free, 866-720-5721). For charity fraud on the web, notify the Internet Crime Complaint Center ( www.ic3.gov), a partnership of the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center.

Consumer Forum is a collaboration of the Bangor Daily News and Northeast CONTACT, Maine’s all-volunteer, nonprofit consumer organization. For assistance with consumer-related issues, including consumer fraud and identity theft, or for information, write Consumer Forum, P.O. Box 486, Brewer 04412, visit http://necontact.wordpress.com or email contacexdir@live.com.

 

Check on Unknown Charities, Especially Following Tragedies

Maine’s Department of Professional and Financial Regulation Encourages Check on Unknown Charities, Especially Following Tragedies 

Phony Charities Reported following Hurricane Sandy and School Shooting in Newtown

GARDINER  –  Citing reports of bogus charities springing up in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and the school shooting in Connecticut, Commissioner Anne Head from the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation is encouraging Maine residents to check the legitimacy of unknown charities, particularly those that seem to quickly appear following a tragedy.  She urges potential donors to always research charitable organizations before making a donation.  A quick check with the Department will provide essential information, such as whether the charity is authorized to raise money in Maine and whether disciplinary action has ever been taken against the organization.

Under Maine law, charitable entities and those who solicit money for charities, are required to become licensed with the Department’s Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation before soliciting contributions.  The agency collects information about charitable activity in Maine and makes it available to the public.  The Office also receives, and acts upon, complaints related to charitable solicitation.

“Charitable solicitation scams aren’t new, but those attempting to take advantage of people’s generosity in the aftermath of natural disasters and other tragedies seem especially reprehensible,” Commissioner Head commented.  “Because the victims of scams might never know they’ve been taken advantage of, or may be reluctant to report their loss of money, it’s important for government agencies to be proactive and alert the public about the very real potential for fraud.”

Commissioner Head advises individuals to ask questions and seek printed information about unknown charities if solicited for a donation; to confirm their legitimacy with regulators; to never send cash or wire money when requested to do so; to always keep receipts of donations; and to report concerns or complaints about questionable solicitations with the Department and law enforcement.

Information about charities can be obtained through the Department’s website, specifically at www.maine.gov/pfr/professionallicensing/professions/charitable. Links allow for the search of licensed charitable organizations, as well as disciplinary actions.  Questions and complaints can also be made by calling the Charitable Solicitations Program at 207-624-8525.

Additionally, the website includes a News Alert with further guidance for avoiding scams.  Information and other resources are also available from the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov/charityfraud/).

The Department of Professional and Financial Regulation protects the citizens of Maine through the regulation of State-chartered financial institutions, the insurance industry, grantors of consumer credit, the securities industry, and numerous professions and occupations providing services to the public.  In order to encourage the development of sound ethical businesses which serve the needs of Maine citizens, the Department fosters a healthy business environment through competent, impartial and efficient regulation.

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