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'Bogus Bins'; Long Island Officials Warn Scammers Trying To Take Advantage Of Holiday Donations

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Many people are cleaning out their closets during the coronavirus pandemic and looking to donate gently used items to those in need, especially during the holidays.

But be careful.

CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reports there are scam artists trying to take advantage of the generosity.

Some bins on Long Island claim to be drop boxes for clothing, but officials say they're a makeshift magnet for donations that are probably sold for profit.

They're not affiliated with any charity.

The Town of Oyster Bay is calling them "bogus bins" and has already dismantled dozens of them.

"Most of them have a sloppy, stenciled lettering and no sign of legitimacy. They don't have a seal of a qualified organization," said Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino. "They're illegal, they're shameful and they're wrong."

Soon, the town will require legitimate charities to register and will issue a town sticker that residents can look for to ensure the donation box has been vetted.

"We have to be sure during the holiday season that we are only donating to reputable charities," said Town Councilman Lou Imbroto.


Scams like these are slowing donations to reputable charities.

Would-be donor Ed Dempsey said he doesn't know who to trust.

"I got clothes that I need to get rid of. What do I do with them?" he said. "You can't trust what's going on."

Officials say to read the fine print - some bins actually state they sell clothes for profit.

A legitimate donation box would also not take up a usable parking space, or fail to mention any registered charity name.

Visit or to learn how charities spend donation.

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