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Friday, December 21, 2007

Police Protective Fund: Scam, Fraud, or just bad people?

Michelle from mhryvnak.net/blog/ has done a post about some repeated hang-up calls she's been getting. She finally decided to call back the number that appeared on her caller ID - which took her to a local, though unlisted, number (570-970-4584), where she was told that the person was calling for a group that called itself the "Police Protective Fund."

Now, every few months there's another article in the paper about phone scammers who are calling around claiming to represent police or firefighters' charitable organizations. It sounded like this "Police Protective Fund" might be another one of these. The truth, it turns out, is a little more complicated.

Some internet sleuthing revealed that the Police Protective Fund 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 on the internet, more than 90% of the donations taken in by this organization are skimmed - er, consumed - by overhead, administrative, and fundraising costs. Most local police forces 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 abound of aggressive, belligerent, harassing, and abusive behavior by people making calls on behalf of the organization - including, of course, the repeated hang up calls received by Michelle.

I haven't gotten any of these calls yet. When I've gotten similar calls in the past, I've always been brief, blunt, and firm with them, never using words like "please" or "thank you" that can be recorded and presented out of context. If I do get one of these calls, I'm thinking I might say something like "Give me your name and a callback number. I'll check this out with my neighbor, the Chief of Police, to see what he has to say." I don't know how they'll respond. But from what I've read online, I expect to be cursed at, and then keep getting the calls.

mhryvnak.net/blog/ : FYI - Possible NEPA Scammer - BEWARE!
nuvo.net: Who are these guys?
consumeraffairs.com: Police fund-raisers accused of fraud
Dover Post: When giving to charities, beware of fraud
Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon: Law enforcement telemarketer sued in Missouri

Notable quote from linked news release:

Nixon says PPF 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 2006. Consumers who are solicited are not told that the benefits paid are limited to the first four officers who die in the line of duty in a calendar year, and that the benefits are capped at a total of $40,000 annually. The organization’s IRS filings show that more than $3.7 million of the $5.9 million PPF raised in 2006 was paid to professional fundraisers. From 2002 through 2006, PPF received more than $24 million in donations nationwide.


In addition, several consumers
complained to the Attorney General’s Office that callers representing PPF often employed rude and intimidating tactics in order to obtain donations, and made repeated calls to consumers who asked not to be called.


cvillenews.com: Beware the Police Protective Fund

charitynavigator.com rating: 0 stars

28 comments:

Michelle D said...

Thanks for posting this over here. You probably have a larger base of readers than I do (I'm working on drumming up some more hits!). I would really hate to see anyone get scammed out of any money this close to the holidays.

Anonymous said...

I'm always amazed at people who even take the time to say anything more than "No" to these phone solicitations. Most of the time, I just hang up without even saying that much
- Jen

hedera said...

Actually, I use the caller ID display on my phone to screen calls. If it isn't somebody I know, I'll let them leave a message on the machine. I get a lot of calls that are just identified as "out of area" and we don't pick those up at all.

Michelle, you're doing a mitzvah to publicize this, what a bunch of crooks these people are.

aj said...

HAHAH you guys are dumb.....i used to work for this organization, and they are legitimate....and nixxon or whoever is completely wrong...they do NOT hire professional fundraising CO. to do the calls.....if they did they WOULD NOT be exempt from the nat. do not call list....part of being a "non-profit" org. is NOT using pro. fundraising Co. They will hire anybody that walks into the building....i got hired within 5 mins of being there and not even completely through my application....if i was a "professional" fundraiser...then hitler was jesus....you sound like the dumb people i would talk to who would say...."your org. doesnt even exist" LOL THATS FUNNY...cuz im pretty sure i work here....start talking about things you people know anything about....a good sign u dont know much is when you have to google your information....GUESS WHAT....i can google THE HOLOCAUST and get "INFO" that SAYS IT NEVER HAPPENED...funny how you guys will believe anything your read on the internet but not listen to unsolicited phone calls from a non profit org. SAME STUPID LOGIC good game guys...keep being dumb

D.B. Echo said...

Thanks for setting us all straight there.

Jonathan Senn said...

I know this is an old post, but thought I would update it. I just got called from the PPF asking for donations. I'll agree with aj on two points: 1) These guys are NOT professional fundraisers - they are uneducated morons who read a script and try to guilt you into giving them money; and 2) the PPF does indeed exist - of course so does the Taliban but that doesn't mean I want to give them money.

I found this link very useful while I spoke to them just now: http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=8335

That site about says it all. Just because they are non-profit doesn't mean they are worthy of your money or don't keep your money for themselves. Do NOT throw your money away by giving it to these folks. If you want to help out the police officers, call your local police dept and ask them for charities that actually give their money to their cause.

Just my two cents.

Anonymous said...

People need to start reporting this group to their local commonwealth attorney and the local TV stations and newspapers. Cockroaches do not like lights.

Anonymous said...

Just got a call from these folks. I didn't know anything about them, but I'm not only a sceptic, I'm a cheap bastard as well. I immediately asked the fellow 'Brad' if he could tell me which organizations' he represented. When he told me 'all of them', I knew where they he was coming from. I then asked him if he could tell me what the percentage of contributions to administrative costs his organization reported as a 501C charity (as he proudly toted)and he rather disingenuously told me that '100% of all the contributions go directly to the Police Protective Fund'. Yeah, I thought so. So when I told him that that wasn't the answer to the question I posed him, his second response was that 'he didn't know'. I told him to call me back when he had the numbers and hung up.

Anonymous said...

if you want to learn more about charity fraud in regards to Police Protective Fund and now the new junk charity run by the same people, then check out this site about them. www.badgefraud.org

Anonymous said...

ok so i just recieved a call from these boys.They asked for my parents i said they were sleeping and asked 3 times who they were finally i said may i ask who this is and the boy said yes you can very rudely and hung up i have caller ID so i called back and it said they were the Police Protective Order Fund and to leave a message after the tone..so i came and looked up what it was and its the same thing...

Anonymous said...

well I told them I would send them a contribution of $25 but now that I've read this I think I'll just give it to the Salvation Army where 95% of contributins really does go to programs for there clients. thanks for "outing" these guys.

Mike said...

Its December 17, 2010 & the PPF are still finding suckers around the country to support their bogus "Charity" (NOT).

I actually came here tonight because I just started getting calls from their "telemarketers".. First time they called I told them, "Got the wrong number.. Remove this number from the database, & don't call again".. Guess how long it took before I heard from them again.. Two Weeks is the correct answer. Actually.. that was tonight. I let them know this is my 2d time telling them "Got the wrong number, remove me from the database, & don't call again."

Anyone think I'll hear from them again, two weeks from tonight?

PS. I say they're "telemarketers" because they behave like telemarketers. You've heard that old say, "If it walks like a duck,& quacks like a duck... Its a DUCK".

Hey aj... QUESTION... In your fist paragraph, you say, "i used to work for this organization, and they are legitimate".. then further down in your rant you say, ."your org. doesnt even exist" LOL THATS FUNNY...cuz im pretty sure i work here." My question is.. "Which is it? Your an Ex accomplice, or presently participating in the profiting from dead police officers?"

Defending a company that uses 90% of their donations (donations for fallen police officers)for salaries & administrative costs, & only 10% to families of dead officers tells me you have the right mentality for screwing people. Not to mention the right vocabulary for it (i.e. Stupid, dumb, ect). I would suspect.. from the tone of your post, I can answer that Question myself..

I could care less if PPF ex

Anonymous said...

I just received a call from a person who said he was representing the Police Protective Fund. He didn't give his name but reminded me that I had given last year (it turned out to be a few months ago). I was hesitant this time as he did seem unprofessional and asked him to send his literature out and I'd decide. He got very angry and said "I won't send you any literature. You are a waste of time". He hung up so fast I didn't get a chance to reply. I don't have a caller ID but since I haven't used the phone since maybe I can locate the no. I live in Md.

Lime said...

Cool Beans!!! It's so cool to be able to google this while they are on the phone and still on the opening segment of their "how are you today" speech and then just read back to them from your blog. It made for a very short phone call. LOL!

Anonymous said...

I am tired of this scam calling me every other month. When I question them about what they know about our local police they hang up on me. I think that police and the justice system would want to do something about such a predatory group using the good name of police to take people's money.

Anonymous said...

The Police Protective Fund's Rockville, MD office phone number is 877-343-2477.

Anonymous said...

Fuuny it's the same number for Indainapolis Indiana. Hummm

Anonymous said...

I think everyone here is missing the bigger point.
"police protective associations" and "fraternal order of police" are not charities. They are police unions. You have already paid for police protection and services well with your taxes. Do not pay their union for lawyers and admins.

Anonymous said...

I dont think the Montgomery County, MD. police would call these people a scam and a fraud if they were part of a police union. Take your political views elsewhere!

http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/apps/News/press/PR_details.asp?PrID=2536

joeypockets said...

I just promised a guy that I would send $25 to the organization and I got a sticker in the mail with a card and envelope to send the check back. I read this because my wife threw away the request so I wanted to get the address off their online site and ran into this.
I am bit afraid of these guys, to tell you the truth. I am afraid that they know where I live and that if I don't give or promise I will and then don't; I won't get the help from the police I need when I do need it. (I probably have been watching too many Steven Segal movies.) It is very disconcerting to read what was written both by the people complaining and by the one who said he worked there. When name-calling is the response to criticism, that is the sign of a fool. One can usually tell how mature a person is by the way they respond to criticism. Adults explain why what they are saying is right, not telling the other person why they are wrong.

I am not sending the check.

joeypockets

D.B. Echo said...

I would contact the local police and ask if they had ever heard of the Police Protective Fund. If you ever get a call-back from the scammers, let them know what the local police had to say. Or just let them know that you changed your mind and plan to donate the money directly to the police.

Anonymous said...

Almost got hit by these folks at a weak moment. Thank my wife for asking me to look them up. Thanks for the post they should stop these folks from misrepresenting all police.

Anonymous said...

I've been a cop since 1991 and have recently retired...never heard of this group and I was in a major metropolitan area. They are not a union, most police unions do NOT ask for money to help cover their costs, union dues are for that. They appear to be attempting to capitalize on peoples understanding of charitable organizations that are run by various police entities, such as PAL's (police athletic leagues) that some cities have to promote youth sports. They are not the same and the research I have done indicates your money (and mine) is better spent elsewhere. Some posters are fearful there may be retribution for not donating, such as lack of police response to requests for service...that won't happen. Like I have said, most police officers have probably never heard of these clowns except for the phone calls asking for money. Donate where you want and rest easy, the cops will come as always.

Anonymous said...

Same story here in the Baltimore area. Just got another call from PPF; hostile male. Says it's the annual fundraiser, but he called just a few months ago. Insistent that 100% is used for police families. I asked to be removed from the calling list and hung up; not holding my breath that they'll comply.

Anonymous said...

Just got a call here in TN. I wanted to look into them while he was on the phone (he wouldn't give me a number to call back later), and found out they were being sued by the state back in April. The guy wasn't rude but he kept saying that all of the proceeds go to families of fallen officers. It was hard to get him off the phone but hopefully they won't call back.

Anonymous said...

Have given to PPF in the past & just got another call last night. I'm in the Baltimore area. The caller's tone was rude and nasty from the start. I had to literally cut him off mid-sentence to let him know that I was sorry but I just lost my husband very suddenly less than 2 weeks ago. He practically screamed "Well good luck with that" into the phone.
Thankfully we have sites like this so we know ahead of time. My husband & I were always happy to give because both our fathers were on the job & we thought it was a worthy cause!

Jocelyn in Tampa said...

came across an ad on craigslist to work for them titled make money while sitting on your ass watching tv. word for word the title so when i looked it up i came across this website as well as the company website. they has lots of excuses saying all the bad reports just couldnt be true they do have a way to get off their contact list. link here http://policeusa.com/contact/

Anonymous said...

I have just been in the office (local FL as an employee) of this "charity" and found out that less than 1% actually goes to the people they claim to help. Look at the numbers... Over the last decade only 0.08% has actually reached the people they claim to help. Over $230 million has been taken in and less than $250,000 has been disbursed.I not will stay with them.