"Police charity" telescammers' creepy implied threats

Jason Powell sez: I've had a rash of telemarketer calls in the last few days for "Police" or "Sheriff's" charity organizations. In the past, I've always just said "take me off your list" and hung up–problem solved. However, this latest call troubled me on new levels. I'm not sure I'd call it intimidation, but some of the comments did have a hint of something just slightly less than that. For example, the caller made several references to my home address…"how's it going out there on Elm Avenue today?" I guess the intention is to play on the fear that if I don't donate, I can expect trouble (“we know where you live”). The only thing that troubled me about that is the idea that they're using this tactic on others who would fall for it.

Suspicion of these callers led me to Google for answers, and I wasn't too surprised by what I found. While some of these calls are outright scams, the other, more "legitimate" callers do little to nothing for the groups they claim to represent–in most cases, the telemarketing company working on behalf of a police charity give as little as 15% of the "take" to the charity.

Below are some links I found of interest. I also ran accross the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement site’s page that warns specifically about fraudulent charitable organizations: "They also call claiming to represent police or firefighter organizations. They typically ask victims for donations to help police officers buy equipment or to assist families of officers disabled or killed in the line of duty." Link

Additional links:

The Attorney General's site concerning charity telemarketing (Includes a list of what the caller must/can do according to law).

The FTC site concerning charities (Includes information on how to check up on an organization before you donate).