Support the police, but be wary of scams
We all want to support the police and firefighters because we respect them and want to help those who help us so valiantly. However, the crooks know this, and they try every conceivable way to try and make their own big bucks off of our generosity.
We get calls and more calls to give money. How do we decide which are legitimate and, in particular, which ones actually give the police or fire organization a large part of the money.
Officer Paul Lennon, although acknowledging that the Police DO NOT SOLICIT, also says that all telephone calls and mailers are not necessarily scams. If you ask them to send information to your house, and they do not, thatís a scam. If they send you material, some percentage of your donation may go to a charity, but most goes to them. Call them and ask what percent goes to the police-related charity. And then call Paul Lennon, 538-8146, to see what he knows about that particular charity. He will definitely find out for you. AND ask him to tell you how to give money to the SDPD legitimately and safely.
The Better Business Bureau receives many complaints about similar solicitations initiated by organizations who, typically, are either non-charitable law enforcement unions, or publishers of specialty magazines which they claim are aimed at those groups.
San Diego has more than its share. The following organizations have been active in the County in the past 24 months. All of those listed here have either not responded to inquiries from the BBB, or have moved so they are unable to locate them. If you have received a recent solicitation from any of these organizations, or any organization with a similar name, please contact the BBB and let them know the name, address and phone number of the organization so they can check it out. (Remember to check with the BBB before you write a check!):
American Police Bulletin, Firefighters Assoc. of America, California Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of Veteran Police Officers, California Narcotics Officers Association, NAVPO, California Organization of Police & Sheriffs, Police News, California Reserve Police Officers Association, Policemen's Benefit, COPS, San Diego County Motor Officers, Fireman's Benefit, The Badge Magazine, Firefighters Yearbook, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #10.
Always remember the basics for charitable giving: know the charity (there are many that sound the same - on purpose); never give money to a runner; ask for information to be sent to you if you donít know the organization; always ask what percent of the donation actually goes to the charity; donít give in to any pressure to Ďhurry; Ď make sure the donation is tax-deductible, and never send cash.
Take a look at www.rbernardo.com and click on the organizations under Consumer Protection: youíll find the BBB, Channel 10 Troubleshooter, Internet Fraud Complaint Center and the National Fraud Information Center.
Courtesy RB NEWSJournal
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