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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.

32 Comments

8623674978
October 24, 2019
Quiero aser una donación para la Policia y el cuerpo de bomberos
KM
March 28, 2019
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.
cravenh55
April 02, 2019

In reply to by KM

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
Bill Wanamaker
March 28, 2019
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.
SandyO
March 28, 2019
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.
Luna
March 28, 2019
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.
Archer
March 28, 2019
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.
Telemarketers
March 28, 2019
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!
ScottC
March 28, 2019
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.
Bigdog
March 28, 2019
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.
Sunny68
March 28, 2019
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.
Chat_Kath47
March 28, 2019
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.
Buford
March 28, 2019
Thank God for the FTC!!!
Julcion
March 28, 2019
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.
ShariYS
March 28, 2019
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!
ForPetesake
March 29, 2019
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.
Honor
March 29, 2019
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.
Don't use your…
March 29, 2019
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.
Quinn
March 29, 2019
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.
brlawyer
March 29, 2019
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.
almost bamboozled
March 30, 2019
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.
Mooky
March 30, 2019
Have a friend that is getting scam calls and falls for them most of the time. Advised this person to contact the FTC
Nandrew
March 31, 2019
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...
Dogville
March 31, 2019
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
connie2cats
April 11, 2019
Is there any way to stop charities who send mail via U.S. P.S.? I have tons of junk mail from charities who want donations! I keep telling them to remove my name from their mailing list but I keep getting mail from them! Can I just send them back?
Meren
July 16, 2019
Could use some help here in Ohio getting calls from Multiple numbers and multiple caller ids all some kind of Police Association etc. have called from at least 5 different phone numbers my Robocall blocker picks them off but If I am getting calls I know others are as well. I use TV Services caller ID to check on calls, then Google the numbers or information see what pops.
suej
July 19, 2019
I received a call at 8:30 this morning. I live in Maryland and the number calling was 240-224-9229. Asked to be put on their do not call registry, but the man and I were talking over each other before I hung up. The phone company providing the number is Peerless but thats all the info I have.
AB
August 24, 2019
Phone rings, I answer. Guy says "Is this Ed?'. No, I reply, you must have a wrong number. Guy says "Well, maybe you can help me. I represent (fill in blank here, a police/first responders charity) and we are asking for your help/support/money etc." I hang up because you lied to me right away asking for "Ed". Called me back one week later, same guy.
Luna
October 16, 2019

In reply to by AB

I have the same guy calling me once a week. Ive asked them 9 times to stop calling me. I dont have caller id or blocking. So im going to buy an air horn
Dariush
September 08, 2019
He calls me all the time and when I ask him not to call . after a couple of weeks he does it again.
FedUp
September 20, 2019
Got a call this morning from a Georgia number saying they're seeking donations to ensure law enforcement officers get the equipment and tools they need, blah blah blah. Said they're calling "people in the area..." I'm not in Georgia. I'm nowhere near Georgia. When I asked what area he sort of stumbled and then came up with my state (I assume he was able to look at the area code). I said "Really. Then how do you explain calling from a Georgia area code?" Shockingly, he had no answer. As the daughter of a police officer who was killed in the line of duty, I fervently hope there is an especially nasty circle of Hell for these people.
D_Gary
September 24, 2019
423-770-7001 just tried to call me and ask for money