Council & Associates - December 2018

THE DANGERS OF DRINKING AND DRIVING ENJOY THE FESTIVITIES WITHOUT PUTTING ANYONE IN DANGER The holidays are a festive time full of parties, events, galas, and get- togethers. Catching up with old friends and loved ones is one of the true joys of the most wonderful time of the year, but it can’t be an excuse to throw caution to the wind. But too many people do just that, getting behind the wheel after one too many spiked eggnogs or beers. It’s needless, dangerous, and could ruin many people’s holidays in a hurry. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), DUI arrests are at their highest between Thanksgiving and the first weekend of January. Some police departments even refer to the day before Thanksgiving as “Black Wednesday” because of the number of intoxicated drivers leaving the bars that night. If you’re going to enjoy a few beverages at a party, plan in advance to not drive. Assigning a designated driver (DD) is great, but it requires that person to be diligent in their sobriety for the night. You have to be willing to change plans if your DD ends up with a drink in their

STOP DONATING TO SCAMMERS HOW TO SPOT FRAUD TH I S HOL I DAY SEASON

During the season of giving, charities receive a much-needed rush of donations as people open their hearts to others. Unfortunately, criminals are all too willing to abuse this goodwill. According to a report from the Justice Department, Americans over the age of 60 lose over $3 billion a year to scams and fraudsters. As charity scams reach their peak, here’s what you need to do to ensure your donations aren’t lining the pockets of criminals. Never Give by Phone or Email. Charities regularly reach out to past and potential donors through traditional mail, email, phone calls, or text messages. This means fraudsters will mimic their approach with less noble intentions. Because it’s impossible to determine who is on the other end of a call or email, you should never hand over your credit card information to strangers. If you really are speaking to a representative from a legitimate charity, they will direct you to a secure avenue where you can give without worry. Feeling Pressured? Walk Away. A lot of charities set goals they want to reach before the new year, but even groups that are hoping to raise a certain amount of money know better than to pressure donors into giving. Donations should always come from the heart, and it’s a bad sign if someone insists there’s a deadline for giving. As the Better Business Bureau says, “Responsible organizations will welcome your gift tomorrow as much as they do today.” Only Give to Reputable Charities. Do some research before donating to charities. Look up any prospective charity on Charity Navigator at CharityNavigator.org. This service flags “high concern” organizations suspected of fraud and ranks how reliable established charities are. Even legitimate organizations can be misleading about how they spend their donations. A good rule of thumb is to avoid organizations that spend more than 25 percent of donations on salaries or administrative costs. There are many amazing charities and organizations that do good work. Stay vigilant to make sure you are bringing joy to the world and not falling for a criminal looking to make a quick buck.

hand. Luckily, ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are easy to use and readily available. Sure, you may pay a premium for surge pricing during the busiest times, but that’s a whole lot better than putting somebody’s life at risk.

Even sober drivers should take extra precaution during the holidays.

Conditions can be less than ideal, and foot traffic will be higher than normal. A little patience could save you a big hassle. It’s also important to never assume you’ll know how another driver will behave. Leave space, drive defensively, and give yourself an out in the event of erratic behavior from another motorist.

When it comes to drunk driving, our advice is pretty simple: Don’t ever do it. Even one drink can impair your ability to operate a vehicle properly. It’s not worth the risk, both to yourself and to innocent drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

So, by all means, go out and have a ball this holiday season. Just do it without mixing alcohol and driving.

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