Saturday, August 26, 2006

Are you a reluctant contributor?

Unsolicited phone calls

Even though my phone number is listed with the National Do Not Call Registry, I begin receiving calls for bogus solicitations early in election cycles, and the calls increase in frequency as the election approaches.
Is there any connection between these bogus charities and our friends scrambling to financially support their favorite political sleazebag?
All I can say is “do not make contributions over the phone”. Have the caller send you some verifiable information in the mail before you decide to support. If they don’t already have your address, they are probably not local anyway, so you might be smarter to simply hang up the phone.
When you find a number on your caller ID that you don’t recognize, run a google search on it. If it is one of those “under the rock” GOP solicitation stations, you can probably figure it out by the search results.
Google was kind enough to show me the following for 800-557-1454:


Date: September 1, 2004



Each year, this alert goes out to our region regarding the McGruff House, and how it handles its funding as an organization. PLEASE be aware of this yearly issue that comes up, and CHECK FIRST with The Local BBB and the official and legitimate ORGANIZATION before DONATING!

Yesterday, a woman contacted us at The Local BBB stating that she received a call from the Washington State Law Enforcement Association soliciting donations for the McGruff House. The number that came up on the woman's Caller ID was: (800) 557-1454.

When the BBB Customer Service Representative placed that number into the BBB National Database at: it came up with 10 matches for that number to the following groups:

State Police Officers Council

Kentucky State Police Professional Association

Massachusetts Reserve Police Federation, Inc.

Fraternal Order of Police Michigan State

Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association

Missouri Federation of Police Chiefs

Nebraska Sheriffs Association

State Peace Officers Council

Association of Oklahoma Narcotic Enforcers

Washington State Law Enforcement Association

What The Local BBB comes to find is that the 800# used by each of these associations is a third party calling group—telemarketing group that has been hired by these organizations to conduct their donation drives. The name of this third-party agency is called THE PLEDGE OFFICE.


McGruff House DOES NOT solicit donations from the public via phone. The National McGruff House Network has verified with Spokane Police that in no way have they hired the Washington State Law Enforcement Association to conduct ANY donation drive for their organization. They clarified that they NEVER solicit the public for donations in this manner.

When The Local BBB shopped the 800# yesterday, our BBB rep stated that they got the answer that, Yes, they do solicit donations for McGruff House.

Just today, after shopping them again, the person at the 800# who answered stated that NO, they do not solicit for the McGruff House.

We are left to conclude that this may possibly be a case of a questionable telemarketer deceiving innocent donors into handing over their personal info or pledges and pocketing the donations, and not getting them to the official source at all.

The BBB rep read the report to the woman for the Washington State Law Enforcement Association. According to information on file with the Washington Secretary of State, Washington State Law Enforcement Association is a 501 (c) 4 organization. It is not a charity and therefore contributions made cannot be considered as a charitable donation for tax purposes. For the fiscal year ending June, 2002 the report shows that of revenue of $1,139,956, the organization devoted $31,966 (3%) to program services. Total expenses for fundraising and management/general costs were $1,056,424.

Unfortunately, these numbers disclose that this organization is using a majority of its donations to pay its third-party telemarketers!

This organization has an unsatisfactory record with the bureau for one unanswered complaint. However the business has resolved one complaint presented by the bureau.


Know how your donation will be utilized by a charity or organization. If it's a third-party calling on behalf of a group, contact that group specifically and ask them questions before donating. Verify that they are actually being represented by a third-party calling group.
Check on breakdowns of monetary disclosures and funding at: or contact your Secretary of State's Charitable Division for details.

Ask wise questions!

Donate wisely!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just want to say thanks for posting on that - I just got a call from that #. (didn't answer it though - call screening is a wonderful thing...)