Donating to help police or other first responders

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Some good charities do great work to help first responders, our everyday heroes. Unfortunately, a few charities say they’ll help law enforcement officers, firefighters or their families, but do very little. They spend the vast majority of donations on fundraising, salaries and other expenses. That’s what happened with the Disabled Police and Sheriffs Foundation (DPSF).Where did donor contributions go. Per one hundred dollar. ninety three dollars and ninety five total fundrasing, management and general expenses. five dollars and forty one total charitable program service expense.

The FTC and the State of Missouri announced today that they stopped this sham charity. According to the complaint, DPSF conned people into donating more than $9.9 million. In telemarketing calls, DPSF fundraisers told people that donations would be used for grants to disabled officers and to the families of officers slain in the line of duty. But almost no one was helped. For example, in 2015, just five disabled officers and three families of fallen officers received grants. The majority of the money — almost 95% — went to the director of the organization and the fundraisers he hired.

It’s horrid to think that there are disabled police officers that need help but did not benefit from those donations. And it can be hard on the phone to tell what’s real and what’s not. But by taking a moment to do a little research, you can avoid donating to a bogus charity like DPSF. If you want to help your local first responders, check directly with your police station or fire department and ask if they know and will benefit from the charity that you’re considering. You can also research charities online. Check out FTC.gov/Charity for some tips.

Many telemarketers are relentless and they’ll try to pressure you into making a donation over the phone. Don’t let them. A legitimate charity will be happy to get your donation anytime. And they might call you, because even if your number is on the National Do Not Call Registry, fundraisers calling on behalf of a charitable organization are allowed to call. If you want them to stop calling you, ask them to put you on the charity’s do-not-call list. They must honor that request. If you think a telemarketer has violated the rules, tell us at FTC.gov/Complaint.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

Thanks for all the great work in exposing these scammers and eliminating them. My phishing and spam emails and phone calls have decresed significantly due to your vigilence.

I’m trying to keep my information safe but it’s hard it just seems like it never stops I need help to block these thieves out

Thank you for putting these dirtbags in the trash where they belong. As an old former deputy sheriff, I appreciate how your work makes our society a better place, and advances our American ideals.

I knew this was the case so every time we get one of those calls, I tell them I'll just donate directly to law enforcement in my hometown. That stops them although they do try to argue that it won't go to "disabled" officers etc. No donations from my home to these scammers.

Thanks you! One of the charities for helping the police was intense - almost threatening. I said, "let me call the local police about this on the other phone". He did not like this. I gave once, I am sorry to say because I thought it was legit and I have a family member once a police officer that now can't work. I know his family needs help. But I got suspicious after that call and never gave a cent after that.

No kidding. They do that in Florida too, but nobody has stopped them! Donotcall.gov is totally ignored,and they've ALL learned how to text.

The number of robo calls, (phony) charity requests, and closet con artists (Scammers) has become a full time job at blocking numbers on both cell and home line. ALL my friends and relatives are inundated on a daily basis! Service providers need to do MORE to protect consumers from these calls. I received 7 such calls TODAY in a 4 hour time period! Unbelievable!

As I was reading this article, my cell phone rang and it was a Missouri number asking for a donation for the National Police Association. I guess they're still at it.

I used to get those type of calls all the time. I checked with my county, city, and state police departments and all stated they knew of no one who had received any help. They suggested that any time I might be expecting a call from anyone for any reason to enter them in my contacts in my phone. Then when someone calls you will see their name and if not block that number on your phone. It has not stopped all of the calls but has really put a dent in the robocalls.

When I want to donate to my local first responders, I either deliver it to them in person, or send it directly to their mailing address.

I just got a call yesterday (March 27) saying he was soliciting donations for the family of Fire Fighters and he was sending me a pledge card - I said that I choose the charities to which I want to donate and I didn't want a pledge card for the one he was representing...he was NOT happy. "The families desperately need your help, how can you turn your back on them?" I said, "The same way I can turn my back on YOU. " and I hung up.

Thank God for the FTC!!!

I get such a phone call by asn who has such a deep strong authoritive voice! Such a turn off. They ought to have a woman calling but most women aren't so selfish and dishonest. I always tell the caller I already donated.

Ask your local police and/or fire department if there is a charity assisting disabled or injured first responders. Never donate anything to anyone over the phone!

I keep a landline just so I can put that number on any forms I need to fill out. That line has an answering machine and I only pick it up if I recognize the voice or whom the call is from. Before caller ID my response was always, “I’m sorry I don’t donate over the phone” and then hang up. Since these companies sell their list of people who do take the bait, it has cut down on phone solicitors considerably. Any calls that do come through, I block them then report the number to the FTC.

There are also fake law enforcement charities who make phone calls pleading for money, claiming they're from some police organization. First and foremost, no legitimate law enforcement agency will call anyone's home asking for donations. Validate who these fakers are by contacting their claimed affiliations. You would be surprised at how fast they hang up when you ask for their tax exempt numbers, the name(s) of their city/state affiliations, even their own call-back number.

Recap of my experience. Wanted a $25 donation. I researched and found: $17 Expenses
$12 for literature (FREE from GPO!)
$4 to Vets
Beware, because the same spokesman trying to get your money uses several different organizational titles.

I don't think so. I received one yesterday. (618) 481-4288. Town that showed on my screen Brighton Il. Just over the river from St. Louis.

I don't converse with the caller. After he (and it's always a male caller) identifies his charity, I hang up. They never call back.

got a call yesterday asking for donations for officers and other rescuers. told the guy i couldn't help at this time. he insisted he could send a pledge card for $15. told him not now and hung up.

Have a friend that is getting scam calls and falls for them most of the time. Advised this person to contact the FTC

A few years ago I got a call from a "charity" collecting for the injured police or something similar. I asked how much of the donations actually go to the programs. He (amazingly) answered what must have been the truth, saying very enthusiastically, "As much as 2%!" I laughed hysterically and said no. I did wonder if they are required to tell the truth if asked that in order to avoid legal action...

I am so happy someone is taking action against these scammers that are ruining valid opportunities to help. I truly wish the ones who call saying they are collecting money for the Alabama Troopers. My uncle is 89 and a retired Trooper. For years, he said don't give. No one gets anything from them

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