Grady Judd encourages citizens to protect themselves by avoiding fraudulent telephone contribution solicitations. Some charity solicitation calls are downright scams while others may represent legitimate charities and nonprofit groups.
“The Polk County Sheriff’s Office does not in any way solicit for donations over the phone. Polk Sheriff’s Charities* and Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranches, Inc. are the only legitimate charities related to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Neither charity raises funds over the telephone. The Florida Sheriff’s Association is a good, legitimate nonprofit association that only sends information and membership requests by mail.” – reminds Sheriff Grady Judd.
*Polk Sheriff’s Charities, Inc., a non-profit charitable organization, was set up by PCSO for those who wish to contribute to the PCSO law enforcement memorial, to help family members who have lost someone in the line of duty (for example, Master Deputy Sheriff Shane Robbins), and other charitable purposes. There is also an upcoming “Bikes for Badges” event on June 15, 2013, for Deputy Robbins’ family, hosted by the Winghouse of Lakeland and the BTLS Foundation. Neither of these charities solicit donations by phone.
Tips for Charitable Giving
If you choose to donate by phone, and we do not recommend that you do, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and Charity Navigator (http://www.charitynavigator.org) suggest that consumers take several steps to ensure their contributions will be put to good use:
Ask questions such as whether the caller is from a telemarketing company or works directly for the charity; what programs are conducted by the charity; how much of your donation will be used for a charitable program; and how much the telemarketer guarantees to the charity.
Do your research: Ratings for more than 5,000 charities can also be found on the Web site for Charity Navigator.
See it in writing. Ask the caller to send you information about the charity, including its annual report or a brochure outlining its accomplishments.
Skip the phone. Try donating through a legitimate charity's Web site instead.