Obnoxious Police Telemarketers Tease You About Your Bedtime

Reader Chris, a donator to his local police department, is disturbed by the calls he has been receiving from the Richmond Police telemarketers. Besides being unusually aggressive and rude, one of their recent tactics involves placing phone calls late at night. One evening Chris tried to explain to this person that it was too late to take such calls to which the disgruntled telemarketer replied, “Ok little guy, you get to bed.” Chris describes the strange phone calls, inside…


I recently have been victimized by telemarketers identifying themselves as parties involved with the Richmond police department. On two separate occasions, the requests for donations far exceeded any norm that i have ever experienced. It’s appalling to think that these are individuals representing police officers that I respect and support in every way I possibly can.

Phone call number one took place earlier in the week requesting donations for a program that hands out bears to children that have been victims to, or present at a crime. I explained to the caller that I was not in the position to donate the requested amount given my recent move to my new home; he said something to the effect of “some of these children don’t even have homes”. That’s a sad fact agreeably, but that’s by no means an appropriate “sales tactic”. I actually forgot about it after a day or so until a call I received tonight. In hindsight, I wish I would have spoken with the individuals supervisor, but this is the next appropriate measure.

I answered a call at about 8:55 as i was walking in the door and received a call from an individual once again identifying themselves as a party working with the Richmond police department. This time, the individual was requesting donations for k-9’s that go school to school to educate children on drug services; I informed the individual that the call was a little late and he proceeded to say ” is it past your bed time? “, It’s rather presumptuous of this individual to assume we are all on his sleep schedule. After explaining to the gentleman that it wasn’t past my bedtime, its just a late hour to be calling me, he said “Ok little guy, you get to bed.” I thanked him for his sarcasm and hung up the phone.

Can you please assist in identifying the parties that are handling these requests. They need to be given a manual, some training, or be held to some standards before they harass the general public. Remember, these people are using your good name – I may potentially never donate to the police department again due to this interaction.

Why are these individuals calling so late and or using these abrasive tactics?

Thank you for any assistance you can provide,
Chris [redacted]

We recommend first checking with the police department to confirm that these telemarketers are legit and not part of some phishing scam. If they are legit, they most likely work for a telemarketing company and operate on commission which might explain their rude tactics. If they were volunteering for the police department in this capacity it seems unlikely they would be behaving in this manner. The next logical step is to file complaint with the Richmond Police department whether this be a scam or legitimate telemarketing gone wild. Since Virgina uses the “1 party consent law” regarding the recording of phone calls, you could record some compelling evidence which could be used to expose these obnoxious callers. This type of evidence could be very powerful in trying to teach these jerks some manners since the police probably would not want to be associated with such unprofessionalism.

(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. EricaKane says:

    I know from firsthand experience that many of these “police charities” are NOT affiiliated with your local police department..they just claim they are because the “charity” maybe donates a few dollars to police charities in your community. More likely than not, these charities only pay pennies on the dollar to any charitable purpose, most of your donation goes to the telemarketers and the scum that run the shell police charity.

  2. DeafLEGO says:

    Exactly why my phone stays off the hook until needed for 911 calls. UGH!

  3. IphtashuFitz says:

    Yet another reason why I have caller ID and refuse to answer the phone for numbers I don’t recognize. If somebody really wants to talk to me I’m sure they’ll leave a message. Also, my phone/answering machine can be set to play different ring tones based on caller ID, so family gets one, friends get another, etc. That way I know if I should pick up based just on the ring tone.

  4. wring says:

    two words: caller ID.

  5. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    Hey Chris – I’m getting the same types of Police calls up here in Northern VA but they have 757 area codes – not sure about yours…. They call ALL THE TIME, and I’ve just taken to not answering when I see the caller ID.

    One night I told the woman on the phone I was not interested, and before I hung up I heard her yell (literally, YELL!) at me “BUT SOME OF THESE CHILDREN HAVE CANCER!” I heard her and said “excuse me?” and she goes “yeah – some of these kids have cancer AND they were victims of a crime, and you can’t even find it in your heart to help them out? They are dying of pain!”

    I was abhorred.

  6. henrygates says:

    Just hang up and register for the do not call list. Even if it was a reputable organization, I wouldn’t give out any information on a cold call. The only way they will stop is if we make it unprofitable for them.

  7. These guys used to call my old business every day. They are relentless.
    I have a cousin who is a Detective. He said that i should never give any of these charities any money. He pays hefty dues to the Detective’s association, and it is more than enough to cover the expenses.

  8. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    Most of these so-called charities that claim to work with police & fire departments are total scams.
    If you were to see the paperwork from them, it almost always has a notation in agate type that your “contribution is NOT tax deductible as it’s not a charity”.
    They usually state they’re going to hold a picnic for kids in the summer. Yeah, sure they are!

    And they’re always rude & nasty!

    I was getting calls from the “Veteran Police Fund” & when I answered the call after checking the Caller ID, my first words were “It’s you crooks again” & before I could continue, he just said “You fucking asshole” & hung up.

  9. heavylee-again says:

    When does this kind of thing become harassment? They’re asking for money, so it doesn’t? What a racquet…

  10. Brain.wav says:

    My aunt gets similar calls constantly. She and my uncle donated to the Philly PD and FD a while back, and really can’t afford to make any donations any more.
    Yet they still call at least a couple times a week. They’ve pretty much started ignoring the home phone until someone leaves a message.

  11. EricaKane says:

    @Greasy Thumb Guzik: Greasy, do you live in Illinois?

  12. bonzombiekitty says:

    This is part of the reason I have no land line phone. The only unsolicited calls I get are from the occasional head hunter trying that got my resume through monster or something. Maybe once a year a sales call will slip through and I just say “this is a cell phone” and they never call again.

  13. Whenever a police telemarketer calls, I just tell them I’m too afraid to reach for my wallet.

  14. Steaming Pile’s rule #1 – never donate anything over the phone. No pledges, no nothing. How the hell do you know who is on the other end? You don’t.

    Steaming Pile’s rule #2 – never give out your personal information (other than what’s printed on your checks, if you want to declare these contributions on your tax returns later) to any charity or political organization. You’re just asking to have your mailbox stuffed with junk and be cold-called morning, noon, and night by every nonprofit with enough scratch to get mailing lists from every other nonprofit in the known universe. If you give one of them money, all of them will soon be beating a path to your door asking for some.

    Steaming Pile’s rule #3 – you’re wasting your breath explaining to a caller why you can’t give them any money (ex. “no, sorry, but my son in college needs the money more than Barack Obama does”). They will usually continue begging like a cat waking up from a nap with a jones for kitty treats until you hang up in their face. So save this step and go straight to the hanging up part.

    Steaming Pile’s rule #4 – sometimes it’s easier to pick up, tell the caller to remove your name from their list, and never bother you again, than it is to let caller ID screen your calls. Many of the people (or more often, bots) who cold-call you at all hours couldn’t care less how annoyed you get listening to your phone ring off the hook. Until you talk to a real live human and inform him or her that you’re on the do-not-call list, or in the case of exempt nonprofits, that you don’t do this sort of business on the phone, the bot will continue calling your number each and every time it comes up.

    Hope this helps.

  15. amyschiff says:

    The do not call list doesn’t apply to people calling on the behalf of charities.

  16. aishel says:

    DoNotCall won’t work, since charities aren’t covered by the List.

  17. mac-phisto says:

    yeah, ditto the comments above. if you want to donate your money or your time to your local pd or fd, by all means, please do. but these outfits are shams. if you feel inclined to donate, talk to a cop or a firefighter – they can get you in touch with someone who will help take your money (& not call you 20 times/week).

    & keep your eyes open for others too – i’ve also seen similar “charity work” with public schools, the veterans’ administration, etc.

  18. MikeB says:

    Check out [Whocalled.us] I have seen info on contacting these people and having your number put on an internal do not call list. The national DNC list does not cover charities so putting your number there has no affect on them.

  19. Wow, I get calls like that all the freakin time. The last one was “Donate $50, and you could be part of our silver donators club, or $150 for the gold…” or something along those lines. I told the lady that if I was to donate, it would be nothing over $10. I LOVE telling them this, because of the answer…. “We only take a minimum of a $50 donation… would you like to pay by Visa or check?” I usually respond accordingly… “Look up the meaning of donation. I think you have it confused with subscription. You either take A DONATION OF MY CHOOSING, or nothing at all.” and shortly after, I’m hung up on. Now mind you, I never actually was going to donate… but I do get jollies when I hear their answers to my lowballing.

    It’s criminal when they have a MINIMUM donation.

  20. syncpulse says:

    When i was in high school I had a summer job (it was all i could find at the time) telemarketing circus tickets for a company that claimed it represented a police organization. It was a total scam. If people didn’t want to go to the circus we were trained to ask if they wanted to sponsor some under-priviledged kids so they could go. The sponsorship was the big scam they wanted us to push those because the money went straight to the company. I seriously doubt for all my efforts that not one under-privileged kid got to see the elephants.

    Near the end of each campaign they would put the dialer on random and claimed that it was because a malicious former manager messed with the database and that was why we kept getting unlisted numbers and elevator phones.

  21. rewinditback says:

    yeah – i JUST got this land line last week as my cell is only for work purposes. I actually haven’t received telemarketing calls at all yet, its just these unruly police donor representatives.

    I’ve never donated over the phone – it’s always been to things like ” fill the boot “(firefighters) or donated to the officers in person. This just soils their good name.

    I just was so furious last night when the guy on the other end of the line called me ‘little guy’, what if i had a kid in bed? what if i was a Dr. working a 24 hour shift and trying to sleep? I do have caller id, but the line is so new i’m just not terribly used to staring at the callers name before picking up. Lesson learned!

    Thanks for the good tips though, guys.

  22. Parting says:

    Crooks. They probably have as much in common with Police Department, as I have with Queen of England.

  23. cmdrsass says:

    I already “donate” enough to the local PD and FD in the form of property taxes. If they want more money for some pet project, they can but it on the ballot next year. I never donate to “police charities”.

  24. godawgs7 says:

    I received a call from some lymphoma leukemia society (i went to their website, and while I think it was really a charity, it was a little shady). Anywho, the first words out of her mouth were “I’m not asking for a donation today.” After I told her I was not interested in distributing flyers to my neighbors she asks, “would you be interested in donating $25?”

    I tore into her wondering why she was asking for a donation when she SPECIFICALLY said she was not going to ask for a donation. In the end I got her to admit that she lied to me and apologize.

  25. Parting says:

    @rewinditback: If you look through newspapers, you’ll see a lot of ads for ”make money and help poor children”. All of these telemarketing companies hire all year round.

  26. StoutHearted says:

    I get the police donation calls about twice a year, though my callers don’t mention children. I usually ask them to send me something in the mail, and they do. I usually mean to donate, but kept putting it off and forgetting about it.

    But now I don’t even want to deal with them at all after the way I was treated the last time they called. A man called and tried to convince me to donate at least 5 dollars when I told him I was strapped for cash. I told him “No, maybe next time,” and the conversation ended politely. Minutes later I got another call, from a woman this time who immediatly started to talk about “my donation.” I interrupted her to tell her she was mistaken, that I never promised to donate and someone just called me, but she said “No, no!” and talked over me louder. I hung up on her. I guess she was mad that the guy who called me earlier took no as an answer.

  27. Parting says:

    @cmdrsass: I’ve never seen a legit ”police charity”. So don’t waste money/time on them.

    Most of these ”charities” donate less than 10% of their collections to some random real charity.

    And police won’t ask for your money. Some officers may participate in financing campaigns (like Kid’s Phone, etc.), but in these cases everyone state clearly that they are volunteering.

  28. highmodulus says:

    They are scams that have nothing to do with the police or fire. They use autodialers, ignore NDNC requirements, lie to you ect. Most are fly by night boiler room scams.

    Just hang up as soon as they start their pitch. Don’t talk with them, don’t try to trick them with questions, don’t mess with them. HANG UP.

  29. snotcopter says:

    I’ve been getting calls from these douchebags here in San Antonio, they usually cop an arrogant tone. But you know what shuts them the fuck up lickety-split?

    When I say it will cost THEM $50 to talk to ME. They don’t say much after that. They usually just mumble.

    This tactic has worked surprisingly well with other telemarketer calls, too. It sure got Arbitron off my back.

  30. humphrmi says:

    I just tell them that I don’t make charitable contributions or pledges by phone. I offer them the chance to mail me information about their charity, and I will consider a donation (NEVER agree to an amount on the phone – that becomes a “pledge” and the only information they’ll send you is a bill). Some of them persist, but most of them usually hang up.

  31. Toof_75_75 says:

    @Greasy Thumb Guzik:
    LMAO @ “You fucking asshole””

    If someone said that to me I would have been cracking up!

  32. Parting says:

    @highmodulus: Or even better : just tell them ”hold on”, and put them on hold, forever. They’ll hang up. Plus, you’re making sure they will harass less poor souls on this day, since they wasted precious time on your hold.

  33. Kos says:

    Didn’t we cover this before on Consumerist?

  34. CharlieInSeattle says:

    #1 register number with Do Not Call registery.
    #2 Get caller ID.
    #3 Get anonymous call blocking (This has been the greatest thing since sliced bread, since a lot of telemarketers block their numbers).

  35. timmus says:

    I’ll check back when the OP has filed a complaint with the local police department and initiated a call trace with the phone company. This is really not different from the calls we get here.

  36. Trai_Dep says:

    They’ve investigated these bozos and literally 95% of donations go to “overhead”. Best reply to these scammers is, “Put me on your do-not-call list.” “…Assh*le.”

  37. NapiersNews says:

    I work as a fund raiser at a University which is quite different than cold calling. As a reminder, if you are a member of the Do Not Call list it DOES NOT apply to charitable organizations such as a University. Cold Calling is when someone calls you out of the blue without a prior relationship. When a University calls there is definitely a prior relationship established because they only call alumni, parents or friends(when they have donated before).

    Definitely use caller id. If someone contacts you and you would prefer to not be called again they are supposed to remove your name from the list.

  38. stpauliegirl says:

    When I lived in Wisconsin, I had a friend that did telemarketing that was supposedly for police departments in Michigan. But the company she worked for had no affiliation with any police departments or any charities. She was also paid in cash under the table. So, like many others said, this is probably a scam.

  39. iMike says:

    These calls particularly disturb me for two related reasons:

    a) I feel like I’m being shaken down for protection money;
    b) If I don’t give I’ll be put on some kind of sh!t list which means that should I call 911 I’ll get put at the bottom of the list.

    In fairness, I recognize that a) is real; but that b) is paranoia.

  40. Starfury says:

    I’ve had the “police fund” people call me. I’d usually say I wasn’t working and had no money BUT they’d still ask for a donation. The last time they called I told them to add me to their do not call list. The person shut up and said they’d stop calling.

    Haven’t had a call from them after that.

  41. iMike says:

    PS. Other commenters above are correct: these calls are typically made by professional telemarketing outfits that take a ridiculously large share of the donations. See, e.g. [www.guidestar.org] (Illinois Police Association, Inc fundraisers took $537K of $672K raised (80%)).

  42. @EricaKane: Yeah, those damn people called me so often I reported them to Lisa Madigan. They’re under an injunction not to operate in IL (as I’m guessing you know) because they’re just fraudsters.

    And they totally ignore the DNC list, for those who’ve mentioned that as an option.

  43. stupidjerk says:

    In reference to the “one party consent law” mentioned by Jay, here’s a link for state-by-state recording law…


  44. Buran says:

    @amyschiff: These are not charities, they’re scams. Complain anyway and if it’s paper mail, make sure to include a copy of their pitch, and be sure to circle the part about non-tax-deductibility.

  45. spanky says:

    There was some police charity around here that was sued by a local Sheriff’s department for misrepresenting themselves. Since then, when one of those police charities calls, I just ask them about that.

    Once, before that, though, they called me asking me to donate to some kind of fund for underprivileged children. The deal was that I was supposed to buy tickets for the children to go see a Johnny Paycheck concert. I told them that I hate poor kids as much as the next guy, but I thought that making them go to a Johnny Paycheck concert would be a little over the top.

  46. Buran says:

    @stupidjerk: I don’t see Missouri, and we’re a state…

  47. outinthedark says:

    @pinkbunnyslippers: 757 is Hampton Roads area. My area…I got this call as soon as my new number was listed. Said yea sure to whatever pitch [I was playing games wasn’t even paying attention]. they sent me the stuff and I never sent in a check. Haven’t heard anything from them since to get their donation.

    Hang up don’t waste your time, it’s all a scam.

  48. pegr says:

    How fitting that these telemarketers are lying and cheating in the name of the local police department. Makes me wonder who trained whom in the art of lying and cheating…

  49. Uriel says:

    You can be sure they’re not cops. A cop should/will never call you asking for a donation. It’s probably an rogue organization that asks you for donations, keeps the brunt of what they collect, and send, maybe 10-20% of what they’ve collected to the charity they claim.

  50. Eoghann says:

    Keep them on the phone as long as you want by stringing them along with no intentions of giving them any money or personal information. I usually find, “I don’t really understand. Can you explain how it works again?” keeps them on the phone long enough to keep them from calling anyone else for a while.

  51. Uriel says:

    They probably don’t know anything about your local PD. Ask, make a bold, random statement about your PD, and watch them agree with you. Tell them, “Ya, this is great, do you know Sgt. Sanderson, the guy heading all the recent drug raids, who just lost his wife to cancer?” They’ll usually pretend 100% to know what you’re talking about.

  52. Landru says:

    I’d always assumed those Police Action League calls were something they dreamed up to keep the prisoners busy.

  53. ldavis480 says:

    Okay, no offense to the original author of this article, but as I was reading this story — for some funny reason it was narrated to me in my head in the voice of Higgins from Magnum P.I. ;-)

  54. SOhp101 says:

    I know supporting the police is very important, but have you ever considered trying out this new male enhancement? Guarantees 2 inches in 2 weeks! AND it helps with balding. Oh, you’re a lady you say? Well it also assists in making your breasts a lot larger too. Buy some now!

    What, you don’t want a bigger penis? Then you must not want me to support the cops. How unpatriotic.

  55. kc2idf says:

    Steaming Pile posted his rules; here are mine.

    Rule #1. If you are calling seeking a donation for a charity, you will tell me what percentage goes to the charity. If you don’t have the answer, then you don’t get a donation. If you refer me to a number I should call, I will not waste my time; the answer is now.

    Rule #2. If the charity gets less than 75% of my donation, the answer is no. I don’t care about your expenses; the answer is no.

    Rule #3. If you have survived this long, you will send me information. I don’t care if you send me a 2 cent sticker or a ruler or a magnet or whatever, you are still under investigation. I will pay you by cheque when I am damned good and ready.

    Rule #4. If you are, in any way, rude to me, then the charity you claim to collect for will be notified.

    I developed these rules after I discovered that one donation became three “thank you for donating last year” calls, which, in turn, ultimately became fifty or so over the course of three years. When I began investigating, I found that (a) many returned to the same address, (b) there was a report from the NY AG’s office on how much the telemarketers keep, and (c) I was appalled.

    I now give, directly and unsolicited, to the charities I choose.

  56. Benny Gesserit says:

    I once declined to donate to a local hospital drive to a very agressive “volunteer.” After getting no where I finally said “listen, I’m not interested. Please go away” and hung up.

    Less than a minute later, he called back and yelled at the top of his lungs: “I hope to god someday YOU need to use the facilities at this hospital and DIE before you get them because some *SSHOLE like you won’t give us twenty-five F*CKING dollars!” and hung up in my ear.

    I called the hospital administration the next morning and they hummed and hawed. They even went to far as to say “Well, our volunteers are passionate.”!!

    I told them passion should not equate to what was close to the death threat and they’d better get me on their do-not-call list before the day was out.

  57. Boltonism says:

    I get calls from the Texas State Trooper Association (not rude, but still) about twice a year. The Troopers do receive a portion of the funds – just under 10% of what is contributed. The rest goes to the organzation that collects the funds. I always explain that I contribute to my local Crime Stoppers program, and to put me on their Do Not Call list. I have to make this request about every six months.

    Never contribute by phone. Never.

  58. mariospants says:

    Welcome to the world of the professional “non-profit” charity. Unless you know the organization intimately and how exactly they are spending the money you give them, ignore each and every unsolicited request you recieve. “I gave already” and “I got scammed by another charity recently – send me your disclosure documents before you ask me for money” and “I just got back from burying my mother” often work to get them off the phone.

  59. Sarge1985 says:

    @Buran: Missouri is a one-party consent state, last time I checked.

  60. @Victo: “And police won’t ask for your money.”

    To be fair to my local volunteer fire department, the chief came around in his official vehicle handing out pledge forms on Saturday morning. I wrote a check for $50. I’d join up myself if I didn’t have a gimp leg.

  61. @spanky: ROFL!!!!!!!

  62. Pfluffy says:

    Police make plenty of money off of my speeding tickets to need me to donate even more money to their “charities.” Caller ID and anonymous call reject with Privacy Director are all expensive extras to have on your phone line, but for me……… It’s BLISS. I don’t get ANY unwanted calls, well, except for the few exceptions of a particular disliked relative who had to have my number for emergency contact purposes. But when I’m at home, I know I can rely on having peace and quiet whether I’m eating dinner, napping, or working through a special moment in the bathroom.

  63. whatdoyoucare says:

    I simply say, “I do not give money to professional fundraisers. Take me off of your list.”

  64. WayneK2 says:

    Maybe it’s because I’m poorly brought up, but the instant I catch on to the fact that a call is a money-beg, I hang up. No “sorry,” no explanation, not even a single word, just … [*click*].

  65. stupidjerk says:

    @Buran: i’ll be deep in the cold, cold ground before i recognize missourah

    /grandpa simpson

  66. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    Yep, in Chicago.
    I haven’t had them call in years.
    One of them was the Illinois Police Fund.
    The callers all sound like ex-cons & probably are.

  67. boxjockey68 says:

    I no longer have a landline, but when I did, I used to get calls like this I would tell them “hang on, let me get my credit card” Then I would lay the phone down and let them listen to me do dishes or whatever til they hung up. I had my fun & they hung up, we all won it seems.

  68. Consumer007 says:

    As far as I’m concerned there is N E V E R any valid telemarketing call. Telemarketing anyone should be a misdemeanor and running a telemarketing operation should be a felony.

    Telemarketing = phone spam.

    Therefore, you can and should be as nasty and as mean to them as possible, because only stupid deadbeats go to work there and put up with the abuse and nil pay longer than half a shift.

  69. kathyl says:

    I always say, “I’m sorry, but my company will match any donation we make, but we have to make it through them in order to qualify. I’m afraid calling us directly in the future would be a waste of your time, so please put us on your no call list.”

    It was true the very first time I said it, and has been at least semi-untrue thereafter, but you’d be surprised at how much it puts them off their game. What are they gonna say? “No, donate now and deprive our charity of the matching funds?” They’re usually dumbfounded and say they’ll remove us from the list, because if they said anything else, they’d either sound stupid (er) or they’d give away the scam.

  70. nineRED says:

    The only reason I have a landline at all is for the house security system. All the ringers on all my phones stay off.

  71. rewinditback says:

    I’m from this day forward answering answering my telephone with a police academy soundboard. That’ll teach em’.

  72. thalia says:

    I’m getting sick of telemarketers calling and when I tell them it’s a cell phone, they just go, “So?” and then proceed to tell me how much their jobs sucks and it would be nice if someone would just let them sell them something once in awhile. Seriously. And their numbers are always blocked, so I can’t find out who the heck they are. Seriously, if you hate it that much, get a new frikking job.

  73. thomanjones says:

    I ask them to describe what they are wearing, then start breathing heavily and slapping my palm against the desk. I almost wish I got more calls.

  74. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @WayneK2: I do the same thing. Once, a relative of mine was on the phone obviously trying to convince some telemarketer she didn’t want what they were selling. I told her to just hand the phone to me.

    I only listened long enough to confirm they were trying to sell something and I hung up.

    She said it feels too rude to just hang up and I said it’s loads nicer that some of the other things people do to telemarketers.

  75. Mary says:

    As you say, these callers are likely not legit. I never donate to emergency services over the phone, it’s an old, old scam. My father used to work for the police department and he loved it when they called asking him for money, because he knew they were scammers so he could have fun with them.

  76. Nytmare says:

    I wonder if these fake police/fire solicitations for “donations” might be getting more common to get through the non-profit loophole in the DNC list.

    Reports say that they use police-sounding organization names and speak in authoritative manly voices in an attempt to make people feel guilty for not donating, or even try to intimidate you. Don’t fall for it, their sole job is telemarketing and their sole quest is taking your money for themselves.

  77. Boulder Guy says:

    I just tell them, “Please hold on a minute, while I hook up my recorder to the phone.”

  78. @kc2idf: “I now give, directly and unsolicited, to the charities I choose.”

    And most legitimate charities will honor your requests regarding mailings, etc. EVERY charitable database I know of can now handle this — ours lets us have people get information mailings with no solicitations, solicitations w/ no info mailings, once-a-year solicitations or personalized letters to people who’ve requested we contact that at Christmas/after tax season/midsummer/near their birthday/whatever, no solicitations ever but spew out a document reminding us that donor X receives no solicitations but donates every year on May 12 and we need to send a thank-you note …

    One of the most common requests charities get is “I love you, I donate, stop sending me stuff.” If they can’t comply with that request, I’d be suspicious.

  79. @Eyebrows McGee: I wouldn’t mind getting their monthly newsletter. What bothers me is the third-party stuff that clogs our mailbox. I am convinced that many NP organizations make money on the side selling their mailing lists. You’d think it would be common knowledge that just because my wife contributes regularly to Planned Parenthood, that doesn’t mean we have money for every pro-choice group in the universe.

    Political orgs are the worst. If you want to defund one of the major political parties, get all your buddies to each send them a ten dollar check. Within a week, their mailboxes will be crammed full of appeals for more money, and it won’t stop. Ever. I don’t know how bad it is for the Republicans, but I think we get three or four mailings from various Democrats a day (most of which originate at the DNC), all because I ordered two bumperstickers from Barack Obama’s website.

  80. Fire and Police charities (for most part) are not directly connected with the agencies. Most are scams or donate little of the collected funds to the department’s charitable activities.

  81. raskolnik says:

    Do not assume that these people have anything to do with the local police. I spent some time in the consumer section my state’s attorney general’s office, and saw more than a couple organizations claiming to be collecting money for police departments or sheriff’s offices who were not (and heard stories about plenty more).

  82. When it comes to charities, I usually check them out on Charity Watch to make sure that they are a legit group, and also to find out how much really goes to the charity.

  83. anarcurt says:

    Even if it was a real charity I wouldn’t give any money to those greasy overpaid gangsters.

  84. Bonnet says:

    Telemarketing revenge on NPR. It even gives advice about how to handle the police telemarketers.

  85. vrn3b says:

    I had someone calling on behalf of a police charity call and ask to speak to “the manager” when my receptionist answered the phone. When she asked who it was, they just said, “It’s the police,” and left a name and number.

    Unfortunately, I kind of had to return that call! But I couldn’t believe that they’d left a message like that! That was my one and only experience with anything of the sort, but it left a horribly bad taste in my mouth!

  86. louveciennes says:

    One of the many, many, MANY reasons I haven’t had a landline since 1997.

  87. mijo_sq says:

    I normally get calls from them too, two organizations come to mind.

    International Fire Service Yearbook
    Police & Sheriff’s Association Yearbook

    Related Story

  88. hamsangwich says:

    I kind of wish I got some rude telemarketers instead of the nice ones. The nice ones are boring and make me feel bad for them (not that I actually buy anything they are marketing).

  89. Fitwit says:

    Richmond, Virginia police do not do fund raising. Lots of scammers say they are someone they aren’t.

  90. mr.dandy says:

    Here’s how I got one to hang up first: I said, “Are YOU a XXXX department police officer?”

    He said, “No, we ‘represent’ the XXXX police department.”

    To which I replied a very long, “Oooooooooooohhhhhhhkay”.

    Then I heard a click, never got that call again.

  91. k4_pacific says:

    I got one of these calls once. I asked if I could get tickets to the Policeman’s Ball.

    “What’s that?” he asked.

    “It’s like a formal dance for police officers,” I said.

    He replied, “The police don’t have balls.”

    Then he promptly hung up when he realized what he said.

  92. @k4_pacific: Sure you did…


  93. planetdaddy says:

    I get calls like this all the time. I have a small business and when I registered for a sales tax id it was game on.

    If I don’t recognize the number I don’t answer. If it is important they will leave a message.

    One of the best things I ever did was get rid of my LAN line. I was able to keep my DSL. It was switched to something called “dry loop” DSL. I was able to change my home alarm monitoring with a little equipment to have it go through the closest cell tower.

  94. HooFoot says:

    I occasionally get calls from the local police charity. They have always been very rude to me. When I politely declined with a simple “No thank you” the first time, the caller teried to intimidate me by saying, “You already agreed to give us money. You can’t go back on your word!”

    At that point, I hung up the phone without another word. And now I hang up immediately every time they call. Their scam didn’t work on me, but I’m extremely concerned about old folks or young people feeling intimidated into donating something out of fear. Very sickening.

  95. newfenoix says:

    Remember this:
    The FOP (Fraternal Order of Police) DOES NOT solicit people by phone nor do they hire companies to do so. IF you get a call from someone saying that they represent a police department, ask for the NAME and BADGE NUMBER of their contact on the department. If they can’t or won’t provide that information, they are frauds.

    Several people in the southern states were taken in by a major scam several years ago. If you are in doubt, call the public affairs office of your local police department or the local FOP chapter.

  96. guevera says:

    The people I’ve known who worked for these outfits were some of the shadiest junkies I’ve ever met. Most of them would probably use any donations for identity theft, if they had their shit together enough to do so.

  97. scoosdad says:

    My secret weapon:

    Caller: {begins solicitation}

    Me {interrupting}: “I’m sorry sir, this is a business line.”

    Caller: “Oh? Sorry!” {click}

    Almost never get another call from them. They won’t check to see if it’s business or residential, and they usually won’t waste time calling business phone lines. My number goes off their list.

  98. dragonfire81 says:

    This is probably a tactic used by telemarketing outfits to circumvent the DNC list.

    However, these slimy charity outfits exist in Canada too. I remember a call I got from one of them a few years ago.

    He was pretty crafty. He said they were soliciting donations for two causes and that people use donate $40 to cause A and $95 to cause B. After finishing his spiel, instead of asking “would you like make a donation?”, he came out with this gem:

    “and which amount would you like to donate today?”

    I quickly replied “neither” and hung up. I don’t give over the phone anyway but if I did it wouldn’t be to a scumbag like that. I can’t believe he had the audacity to ASSUME I’m going to donate rather than ask me if I’m willing to.

    I’m sure they are probably told to say that to try and trip people up, but that doesn’t mean it’s not slimy.

  99. nsv says:

    I got a call from someone looking for donations for a Connecticut police department. When he realized I was telling him to put me on the do not call list, he started yelling at me. I repeated myself three or four times, then listened to him yell for a while.

    He seemed like he thought he was going to yell me down, so I put the phone down and walked away, and hung it up about 15 minutes later when I heard the “your phone is off the hook” tones. He must have yelled for more than another ten minutes.

  100. colorisnteverything says:

    We get these all the time from the local FOP. They call and call our house. If you say “no” politely, they ask you a million questions. My sister will pick up sometimes, tell them NOT to call, and then slam the phone down and hang up because she is so sick of answering it. They called one time and my mom *did* give them a donation when I was home for Christmas on break. However, they are not tax deductible (the reason she gave said donation) and they neglected to tell her this until the end of the call.

  101. zyodei says:

    I once worked with a guy who said he had a friend who made a living putting himself on all the telemarketer lists, recording every call he got, asking them on tape to not call again, recording their repeat calls, and suing for a grand or so a pop. Don’t know he was full of shit or not, he tended to be…but I can’t say I didn’t spend a bit of time thinking about it.

  102. banmojo says:

    Recently after moving to a new location my brand new telephone rang one night – it was a man claiming to represent some ‘police fund’ to help the policemen get bulletproof vests. Initially I actually listened to this guy, because I do support police officers and soldiers and this sounded like a legitimate fund. But as soon as the guy’s ‘manager’ came on the line, asking me which credit card I would be using to make my donation, I quickly wised up to the truth behind this phishing scam. I immediately told him that I knew he was involved in an illegal activity, and that I would be calling the local police dept immediately. He hung up on me at that point. I called the operator, and asked if she could give me the phone number and address of this con artist, and she refused to, even after I explained what had just happened.

    Ironic that often the phone companies and the postal service are involved in these scams, even if they don’t actually mean to get involved. Certainly they don’t seem to do anything to help the situation out any.

    Imagine what an old mildly demented person would have done in my place?! I’m sure that these bastards ARE getting people to disclose their personal info and their credit card #s over the phone! We should have a special dept in the FBI to deal with this shit; there should be more public awareness programs out there aimed at older people; the phone companies should provide the info to the FBI when requested, or when a report is made. This is disgraceful that we have to suffer with this kind of bullshit in this modern day and age. Common con artists doing an age old activity (masquerading as a known (rich) person and using falsely obtained lines of credit under that person’s name dates back like forever).

    PLEASE do not EVER give out any personal info over the phone, unless YOU have placed the call to a KNOWN person/company (such as if you were calling a bank or credit card company and they ask for verifying info – THAT you can give out in that limited circumstance).

  103. floydfan says:

    Telemarketing is bound by laws, just like any other industry. They cannot call you after 9pm, your time. 8:55pm may seem late to you, but it’s still legal.

    Unfortunately, charities, as someone stated before, are not bound by the national do not call registry. Neither are companies that you already have a relationship with (ie Capital One can call you if you have a credit card with them already).

    The charities usually call new phone numbers, so when you move, get an unlisted phone number. That’ll take care of the problem. An what are you doing with a landline phone, anyway?

  104. strathmeyer says:

    I would like to take the time to point out that it is not absurd to ask basic information of strangers who call you, such as their name, job, phone number, and supervisors.