Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter By Stuart Morrell/Special to The Apopka VoiceIf your household is anything like mine, you are constantly getting phone calls from various “charities” asking for donations to help. And the timing is usually during the dinner hour! Having spent 20 years working in the non-profit world, I will go out on a limb and say that the clear majority of these callers are scams.Many of these calls are seeking support for police and firefighter widows, kids, etc.Every day, our police and firefighters risk their lives to make our community safer. To show your support, you may consider making a donation when a fund-raiser calls from a fire or police service organization. But before you write the check, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) urges you to consider these facts:Simply having the words “police” or “firefighter” in an organization’s name doesn’t mean police or firefighters are members or beneficiaries of the group.Just because an organization claims it has local ties or works with local police or firefighters doesn’t mean contributions will be used locally or for public safety. The organization should be able to provide you with written information describing the programs your donation will support, and their fund-raising costs before you donate.Most solicitations for police and fire service organizations are made by paid professional fund-raisers.Donations to some police or firefighter groups may not be tax deductible. Many kinds of organizations are tax exempt, including fraternal organizations, labor unions, and trade associations, but donations to them may not be tax deductible.Want to know where your public safety contributions might be headed? Taking the following precautions can help ensure that your donation dollars will benefit the people, organization, or community you actually want to help.Ask fund-raisers for identification. Many states require paid fund-raisers to identify themselves as such and to name the organization for which they’re soliciting.Ask how your contribution will be used. Ask what percentage of your contribution will go to the fire or police organization, department, or program. Also, ask if your contribution will be used locally. Get written information.Call the organization or your local police or fire department to verify a fundraiser’s claim to be collecting on behalf of the organization or department. If the claim cannot be verified, report the solicitation to local law enforcement officials.Ask if your contribution is tax-deductible. If it’s not tax-deductible, the money is not going to a charity. When making your contribution, make your check payable to the official name of the group or charity. Avoid cash gifts: Cash can be lost or stolen.Be wary if a fund-raiser suggests you’ll receive special treatment for donating. For example, no legitimate fund-raiser would guarantee that you won’t be stopped for speeding if you have a police organization’s decal in your car window. Don’t feel intimidated about declining to give. A caller who uses intimidation tactics is likely to be a scam artist. Report the call to local law enforcement officials.I find that the biggest question to ask is “What percentage of my contribution will go to the charity/cause?” The answer you get is most telling. If it’s a legitimate charity, they should be telling you that more than 50% of your contribution will go towards the charity/cause. What I find is that one of three things will usually happen on a scam call:They will tell you they don’t know but will get back to you and of course, never doThey will answer with a line similar to “I have been instructed to tell you that a minimum of 10% will go to the charity/cause”They will hang up on youIf only 10% is going to the charity or cause, where is the rest going? Right into the pockets of these likely scam artists! Wouldn’t it be better to call the charity or cause and ask how you can support them directly so that they would receive 100% of your support?The National Consumers League’s National Fraud Information Center offers this additional advice: beware of organizations with names that are similar to legitimate groups. And be suspicious of callers who offer to come to your home to pick up your contribution—legitimate charities don’t do that.Remember, you can always hang up and call the organization directly. That way, you know every penny is going to your local firefighters or police, not to the guy who interrupted your dinner.(Thanks to the Federal Trade Commission and AARP for some of this background information)Stuart Morrell spent 20 years as a Fund Raising and Agency Executive in the non-profit world and worked with organizations such as the American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the United Way. Support conservation and fish with NEW Florida specialty license plate Free webinar for job seekers on best interview answers, hosted by Goodwill June 11 Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. 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News News MexicoAmericas News Reports May 13, 2021 Find out more Receive email alerts Help by sharing this information 2011-2020: A study of journalist murders in Latin America confirms the importance of strengthening protection policies Follow the news on Mexico MexicoAmericas Organisation Reporter murdered in northwestern Mexico’s Sonora state May 5, 2021 Find out more June 26, 2008 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Journalist gunned down in Chihuahua state amid wave of violent crime April 28, 2021 Find out more NSO Group hasn’t kept its promises on human rights, RSF and other NGOs say Reporters Without Borders is shocked by a wave of violence in the northern state of Chihuahua that has cost the life of Candelario Pérez Pérez, a 32-year-old journalist who worked as an editor on his father’s crime magazine, Sucesos. Pérez was gunned down in the border town of Ciudad Juárez on 23 June. The motive is not yet known.“So far there is no evidence of a link to his journalistic work, but Pérez’s murder comes amid a wave of attacks and threats against journalists in recent months in regions adjoining the US border, especially Chihuahua state,” the press freedom organisation said. “The federal government’s war on the drug cartels and the cartels’ cruel reprisals are fuelling concern about the safety of journalists and the future of the entire profession.”Reporters Without Borders added: “We are aware that it will take time to contain organised crime, whose ascendancy in Mexico is considerable. The fight against impunity needs real cooperation between the federal authorities and state governments.”Pérez was on his way to visit relatives in a Chevrolet Silverado with Texas licence plates when he was shot and killed at about 7:30 p.m. by men armed with AK-47 assault rifles in a dark-coloured pickup. Investigators found about 15 impacts from 9 mm bullets. The victim’s father, Sucesos publisher Candelario Pérez Rodríguez, told journalists that his son got into an argument in a bar shortly before the shooting and that another car followed him when he left. He also said his son sold used cars as well as working as a journalist.Sucesos is a local crime magazine that Pérez Rodríguez founded 30 years ago. It is published irregularly and has not appeared for the past two months because Pérez Rodríguez has been in poor health. His son had worked for it for 15 years as a reporter and editor.Chihuahua state is rife with contraband and drug trafficking and is one of the most dangerous regions in Mexico, with more than 500 violent deaths since the start of the year. RSF_en to go further Reporters Without Borders urges the federal authorities and state governments to work together in the fight against impunity after journalist Candelario Pérez Pérez of the crime magazine Sucesos was gunned down in the border state of Chihuahua on 23 June. The motive is not yet known.