DON’T GET SCAMMED, Advice for Everyone!
In the last several months we have become aware of citizens in the Marlboro Area, Prince Georges and the surrounding counties receiving phone calls asking for donation to several fire and police department organizations. There has also been reports of solicitors going door to door asking for donation. Some of our own members have received the same calls asking for donations to various fire and police organizations. These phone calls are very convincing, they use phrases like the donations provide funds for departments to buy “urgently needed equipment” “help pay for staffing” and the one that tugs at everyone’s heartstrings “we provide funds for firefighters who have been killed in the line of duty” while everyone would like to be able to help with these important issues you should only do so if you are 100% SURE that is where your donation will be going. The majority of these calls are made by “call centers” and the callers are nothing more than phone solicitors, with a script, a list of names of legitimate organizations, making hundreds of calls a day, using high pressure vague information looking for donations.
The following is from the Maryland State Fireman’s Association
“Be Aware, a telephone solicitation scam has been making the circuit. An individual called “Aaron Barnes” has advised he is with ‘Heroes United’ a national non-profit for volunteer firefighters. He advised he was soliciting donations for the families of killed in the line of duty or injured firefighters and advises he is sanctioned by the Maryland State Firefighters Association.
The MSFA does not sanction this organization or any other to conduct any telephone solicitations in its name. Please pass this information to your family and friends.”
If you receive a call or solicitor at your door asking for donations,
Before you donate we have the following recommendations:
Ask for the name of the caller, a call back number, and where you can find information on them so you can verify the information they are giving is legitimate. Real organization will allow you time to do research and will accept a call for you to give them a donation.
Get a name, address and website so you can verify the information – this is just a safety net as some of these companies will use legitimate websites, but non legitimate companies do not have permission to use the name of these organizations to solicit funds or solicit funds on their behalf.
Find a name and phone number for the organization they callers claim to be from through a web search or local phone directory, call the organization and ask them if they can verify they are soliciting funds, and if they are what the money is for.
You can also check with the Better Business Bureau Give.org to see if they have information on the organizations at the following website http://www.give.org/
Only after you verify the money is legitimate should you make a donation.
As an added tip you may want to verify the donation goes directly to the organization, some donations to fund raising groups only pay pennies on the dollar, or have administrative fees they deduct, the Marlboro Volunteer Fire Department and most Volunteer Fire Departments only do mail out fund raising, and 100% of that money goes directly to the department, but even with mail outs you can verify the mailing address is that of the department requesting the donation.