“We are receiving calls on this issue daily,” says Elisabeth Daniels, Chairperson of the Taskforce. “When there are news stories or current events involving the police, scammers try to take advantage of the situation by making bogus solicitations.”
Daniels offers these tips from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to help consumers avoid being defrauded:
- Simply having the words “police” or “firefighter” in an organization’s name doesn’t mean police or firefighters are members of the group.
- Just because an organization claims it has local ties or works with local police or firefighters doesn’t mean contributions will be used locally or for public safety. The organization should be able to provide you with written information describing the programs your donation will support, and their fund-raising costs before you donate.
- Most solicitations for police and fire service organizations are made by paid professional fund-raisers.
- Donations to some police or firefighter groups may not be tax deductible. Many kinds of organizations are tax exempt, including fraternal organizations, labor unions, and trade associations, but donations to them may not be tax deductible.
- Ask for the charity’s name, address, and phone number, and written information about its programs.
- Check the validity of the organization with your local law enforcement department and the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance.
- Ask whether the person contacting you is a professional fundraiser and how much of your contribution will go to fundraising costs.
For more information about fraud-related fundraising, visit the FTC web site, the National Charities Information Bureau, and the Fight Fraud website.