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Police And Fire Solicitations... What You Should Know
The Attorney General provides Consumer Alerts to inform the public of unfair, misleading, or deceptive business practices, and to provide information and guidance on other issues of concern. Consumer Alerts are not legal advice, legal authority, or a binding legal opinion from the Department of Attorney General.
Police and Fire Solicitations -
We've all received calls from members of our local police, fire, or sheriff's departments requesting a contribution. Or have we......?
Consider this example - the Michigan Sheriffs' Association never solicits donations by telephone and warns consumers to beware of aggressive telemarketing by callers who falsely claim to represent sheriffs.
The moral? We all want to support our police officers and firefighters who risk their lives to make our communities safer - but in order to make sure your contribution will be used for the right purposes - know before you give.
FACT - Most public safety organizations are not charitable.
Most of them are trade organizations, labor unions or lobbying groups. Even if
they tell you about charitable causes they support, your donation may not be
used for any charitable activities. In addition, because most public safety
groups are not 501(c)(3) charitable organizations, contributions are likely not
deductible on your income taxes.
FACT - Some fundraisers may use deceptive tactics to induce you to
make a donation. If you receive a bill for an unfamiliar pledge (promise to
donate) you don't recall making, there's a good chance you never made such a
promise - you may merely have requested written information about the
organization. Or an unethical telemarketer may thank you for previous
donations, even if you never made any.
Michigan law provides the following protections:
Remember, the only way we will know about a scam and can take action is if you
file a complaint.
If you believe that you have been misled or lied to, or if you have received a
bill for a pledge you did not make, you are welcome to file a complaint with the
Attorney General's Charitable Trust Section. If you report a suspicious call
promptly, the Charitable Trust Section may obtain a copy of the recorded
solicitation to determine if formal action should be taken.
You may visit to file a complaint online (click on "File A Complaint" in the left frame) or send a written complaint to:
Department of Attorney General
You may also call the Attorney General's Public Safety Information Line, toll-free, at (800) 769-4515.
For information on a variety of issues affecting consumers, visit www.michigan.gov/ag or contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at:
Consumer Protection Division
P.O. Box 30213
Toll free: 1-877-765-8388
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