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New Yorkers should be wary of telephone solicitations for charitable contributions, warns Secretary of State Gail S. Shaffer.

"These oral solicitations normally take the form of telephone calls requesting an individual to purchase tickets for the performance of a special show or to purchase an advertisement to be placed in a particular publication," she says.

December is a favorite time for such solicitations, she adds.

The caller in many cases is an employee of a for-profit professional fund raiser and will present the ticket sale or advertisement sale as benefiting a specific charitable organization.

"These kinds of activities are legal provided all parties are properly registered with our office," Ms. Shaffer said.

She recommends that contributors ask whether the caller represents a for-profit fund-raising organization, and insist on being told the portion of the ticket purchase price or advertisement price the charitable organization will receive.

Also ask how much of the money will go to charitable activities, she recommends.

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