Michigan City police: If you get a phone call from the Police Protective Fund the best option might be to just hang up.
Many local residents are beginning to receive calls from this group and according to online reports took in more than $5.9 million in nationwide donations last year but only paid $37,000 through the benefits program to the families of police officers killed in the line of duty.
These solicitors call you by your first name, try to make you think that they themselves are police officers collecting donations for a local charity.
Legally, these calls cannot be stopped the way other marketing calls can under federal and state do-not-call laws because non-profit groups are exempt. But having the legal status as a non-profit charity does not mean the group is legitimate. To the contrary there are a multitude of scam charities that collect many millions of dollars but use extremely little of the money for truly worthy causes.
The Police Protective Fund claims it is a legitimate charitable organization – exempting it from the restrictions of the state and federal “Do Not Call” lists – though it dances on the very edge of the definitions of “legitimate” and “charitable”. According to reports, more than 90% of the donations taken in by this organization are skimmed by overhead, administrative, and fundraising costs.
Our local Fraternal Order of Police and local police departments have never even heard of the group, let alone received any of the donations sent to the Police Protective Fund on their behalf.
But Attorneys General and consumer groups have heard of them. The organization has been sued in various locations for its questionable practices. And many reports of aggressive, belligerent, harassing, and abusive behavior by people making calls on behalf of the organization.
So … while some phone calls soliciting contributions for local charities might be legitimate, most including this one…..ARE NOT!
Just hang up.