Police charity ranks among the scuzziest trolling in Seattle

NPTA logoI think I now know one of the reasons why there hasn’t been much of a law-enforcement crackdown over the years against charities that misrepresent themselves to prospective donors or spend most of what is raised on things having nothing to do with charity. Some of the most scuzzy charities actually belong to law-enforcement groups.

Last night, I got a telephone call at the New To Seattle world headquarters on behalf of an outfit called the National Police and Troopers Association, in Sarasota, Fla. The male voice immediately launched into a spiel about how contributions would help fight crime and God knows what else. I was asked to promise that I would send in money if mailed a pledge card. But the caller quickly hung up after I said it was insulting to be pitched by a computer–which the caller was–rather than a real human.

Afterwards, I did a little research. Not surprisingly, it appears that just about everything I was told was a fib. But the really sad–or shocking–part is that the NPTA is not a stand-alone charity essentially sent up by some telemarketer who keeps most of the money but a division of an actual police union organization whose members, I assume, are supposed to protect the public. Yet the telemarketer still kept most of the money while the sworn officers were, in my judgment, complicit in deception.

According to public records, NPTA is a trade name of the International Union of Police Associations, AFL-CIO. The International Union represents 15,000 members in law-enforcement agencies across the country. As its name implies, it is a labor organization. The sole stated mission in its latest tax return, for 2012 (downloadable from this page) is to “bargain for just compensation and better benefits” for members.

That’s no charitable purpose as the public generally would understand the concept. You will not be surprised to know that my friendly computer caller made no mention of a union.

By my reading of the financial documents, for the year ending March 31, 2012, the union and its outside fundraisers collected $8.2 million and kept $7.7 million for fundraising fees and expenses, leaving about $500,000 for other purposes. That’s a fundraising efficiency of 6%–less than one-tenth the 65% threshold that charity watchdogs consider the bare minimum for a legitimate operation.

But it’s really stinks even more. According to the tax return, out of that last $500,000, the union handed out charitable grants–scholarships, and a death benefit for one officer in Indiana–totaling just $35,000. That rounds to just 1/2 of 1% of the money raised. The remaining $465,000 essentially went to negotiating higher pay for cops. Would-be donors who presumably also are taxpayers ought to know upfront that in our system of collective bargaining they are funding the other side.

I am not against cops nor unions. But since I don’t consider collective bargaining to be a charitable purpose, I reckon that from the perspective of the donating public the charitable commitment ratio–the percentage of total expenses spent in furtherance of true charity–was just one-third of 1%. Again, charity watchdogs set 65% as the minimum for respectability.

One of those watchdogs, the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance, says in a published report the NPTA, which used to be based in Wauwatosa, Wis., refused to cooperate in an evaluation. In the charity world this usually is a dead giveaway that something is seriously wrong.

Indeed, the NPTA is so sketchy that it cannot even agree on the spelling of its own name. One of the pages on the NPTA website–see it here–references both “Troopers,” plural, and “Trooper,” singular. It’s your choice, I guess, in which name you waste your hard-earned money.

The charity website of the Washington State Secretary of State’s Office, which generally is clueless in these kind of matters, states that the International Union’s charitable commitment rounds to 18% rather than 0% as I see it. The state agency apparently was counting the collective bargaining expenses as charity. Of course, 18% is pretty lousy in and of itself, so visitors to the site who understand the significance of this statistic might be on some kind of notice.

The International Union ranked No. 7 on the just-published list by the Tampa Bay Times of “America’s Worst Charities.” That was based on the amount of money that fundraisers kept over a 10-year period. As I did, the paper also calculated the amount of direct cash aid given out as 1/2 of 1% of funds raised.

A spokesman for the union told the paper that professional solicitors will continue to be used. “While the percents (returns) are not what we would like them to be, it’s money we otherwise wouldn’t have to support our officers,” he said.

I think Al Capone had roughly the same ends-justify-the-means thinking.

The International Union was the highest ranked law-enforcement-labeled organization on the 50-entity Times list. But hardly alone. Three others in the top 20 were American Association of State Troopers, United States Deputy Sheriffs’ Association and Police Protective Fund. I’d say about 20% of the entire list consisted of charities with a law-enforcement theme in their name.

Seattle is hardly immune to home-grown enterprises of this nature. Last year I wrote about the King County Police Union, soliciting money to fund an identification-card program for children called My ID Club. The caller–a real human, at least–told me 89% of the money raised went to the program. But as I estimated after looking at filings, the real charitable commitment ratio was maybe half that, or less. And as it turned out, the King County Police Union didn’t exist, but was a trade name of Public Safety Employees Union 519, a Seattle labor organization that represented very few police officers.

As usual, I invite comments below from anyone affected by or interested in this post.  It’s all in the interest of law enforcement.

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Police charity ranks among the scuzziest trolling in Seattle — 224 Comments

  1. Thank you for this! as most above I agreed to donate thinking it was helping officers. Got the form and decided to look them up before writing a check… Whew! Glad I found your article! I’m returning to my rule of no giving or agreeing to give over the phone or at the door!

  2. Got the Robocall this afternoon and asked questions it was just not programmed to answer, “Who won the World Series?”, “What’s the difference between a duck?”

    Mr. Robo transferred me to a live agent who, before greeting me, asked if she could count on my donation. I countered with a question of my own, “Do Black lives matter?”

    The live agent hung up.

      • I live in NJ, and only found this page when I Googled this suspicious charity. Got a phone call from them this afternoon and was pitched by a southern sounding guy who said that contributions would pay for training and equipment for officers. I asked why I’d never heard of them, while serving 25 years as a cop in Newark. He got very hesitant, and finally hung up when I asked how long the org. had existed. This cries out for investigation; I suspect their connections to legit law enforcement are tenuous at best, if in fact they exist at all. This sortof chicanery needs to be stopped immediately, as it gives an undeserved black eye to all cops. Please pardon my intrusion into your blog, but I felt it necessary to speak out.

  3. Thank you for your investigation! I was just going to send them a check but I had a feeling to check them out first. Is no one making them avcountable for their deception?

  4. I received my call last week from the National Police and Troopers association. I did pledge some $$ and my bill received today. Before sending a check off I decided to double check the association because the person verifying my pledge sounded like a computer and didn’t respond to questions but we did have a bad connection so I thought when the bill comes I will check the company out. Glad I did, the address where I am sending the check is Wauwatosa, WI. When I looked the organization up it says it’s in Florida. I will always support my Police and Firefighters but based on all of this information I definitely will stick with My local police departments from now on.

    • The NPTA has used a Wauwatosa WI address in the past. Money sent to the NPTA is spent on fundraising and collective bargaining but very little goes to the purpose stated on the phone, death benefits for families of fallen officers. Aslo, the contribution is not tax-deductible, something the NPTA doesn’t go out of its way to tell folks like you. That’s because the NPTA isn’t a charity.

  5. I initially fell for the sad story they gave me. I have given to local police benevolent associations, so assumed this was the same. They pushed extremely hard for my credit card number for what I said I could pledge, which was 25 dollars. When I refused and asked for their information by mail, they seemed perturbed and made me promise I would pay my pledge within a day or two within receiving my pledge info. I did a reverse lookup of the number, which showed up as a private caller from Kansas. This sent bells off. I called the actual Florida benevolent association in Florida and gave them the number, and said that this must be a scam and to notified the local police dept which I did. I got a “bill” today saying I had to remit 45 dollars vs the 25 dollars I pledged on the phone. It also stated on the back of the form that by submitting a check I was authorizing them to use the information on the check to make an automatic electronic debit from my account. My bank said no one legitimate would do this. Luckily, I have sent them nothing. When I called back the number they called on a recording came on, with no identification, saying their offices were closed( at 2 pm). The office on the bill was in NJ, remittance to Wisconsin yet the call came from Kansas. BEWARE OF ANYONE CALLING REPRESENTING THEMSELVES AS THE FLORIDA POLICE AND TROOPERS ASSOCIATION.

    • Was the call you got from the “National” Police and Troopers Association, the subject of my post, or the “Florida” Police and Troopers Association? The former is part of a police union and in my opinion solicits under utterly false pretenses. It is based in Florida. I have not heard of the Florida Police and Troopers Association. Were you given a tax ID number? If so, what is it?

  6. National Police and Troopers Assoc.
    1549 Ringling Blvd.
    6th Floor
    Sarasota, FL 34236

    In case you want to file a complaint. No mention that this is in the IUPA building. See Bing Maps, Streetside.

  7. What a shame that this is a scam. There is no doubt that police and troopers alike could greatly benefit from a campaign like this. Just received my sponsor confirmation in the mail today. Next stop…the recycle bin! Thank you for your very informative web site.

  8. Is there anything we can do, anyone we can report them to? They just threatened my 80 year old mother in law for promising to send them money (she didn’t), and told her they would be charging her a late fee. She refused to give them her bank account number but they really pushed for it, and she called me in tears because she needed to send them a check but didn’t have their address. This MUST be stopped.

  9. Got a call from this group today, first indicator was the spoofed number to appear local, second was pressure to get my credit card and third was when I Googled them the second entry contained the word SCAM. They loose, no money from me.

  10. Got a call from them today on my mothers telephone, pushing me to promise a donation if they sent the envelope and information. I was able to get him off the phone by asking for the domain of the organization as I was unfamiliar with it, and saying (in no uncertain terms) I’d be happy to research and donate after a review. This page came up immediately in a search, which thanks to your links and other information found with charity rating sites – well, he’ll have a bad day if he calls back as he said he would. From what I gather from the most recent tax records (2014), it looks like 18% actually went to the things they talk up – however I’m no pro at reading such things and refuse to donate to any under 70% – I will however make a donation to the local food bank in their honor.

    Thanks for the write up – lead me to information to make this decision easy.

    • The amount of money that goes to “the things they talk up” is a lot less than 18%. In some years it’s been 0%. Remember, this is not a charity, but a police union raising money so it can bargain for higher wages at the expense of taxpayers. This is not a proper charitable purpose, and one the nonprofit tries to side as it solicits money.

  11. Ditto to most of the above!!! Wow!!! Thank you Mr. Barrett! I decided to look them up before writing my check and am so glad I did.

    They also pressured me numerous times to just give them my credit card number over the phone. I said that if I had called them, I would do it but I NEVER EVER give my credit card number over the phone to someone who calls me! They were NOT happy about that.

    I just read the faded print disclaimer page on the back of my pledge form and it most certainly confirms everything you have written about above except for the reality of how little actually goes to supporting officers and troopers. That to me is the real kicker. I think I’ll just deliver some home baked cookies to our local office on a regular basis instead and it’ll have more lasting effect than this. Thank you for your time and effort to share the truth of this scam with all of us.

  12. They called me and I pledged $20 but only after I felt pressed to do it. I was busy and in my craft shop and they wanted my credit/debit card number. I told them 3 times I did not have it on me at the time and to send it in the mail. They were not happy about it but said that they would. We left the day it came to take my mother to Texas and when we got back got another one in the mail. I felt the need to check them out and ran across this website and I am glad that I did. I will not be sending a check but will be writing a note telling them to never call me again. Thanks so much for this information that saved me $20

    • I just received a call from them in Mississippi and I am so happy to have my suspicions confirmed. Hard sale and they sure do not care to listen to me talk. Thank you again.

  13. I am a retired teacher who struggled in the low paying teaching profession for 15 years. Under the Obama administration funding cut and union busting have taken their toll. As a result the amount of money required to lobby states for proper funding of education and police work has exhausted much of the available resources which would otherwise have gone to community programs for inner city youths etc. As a result, I am donating to the NPTA one more time this year until Trump gets in as President, then proper funding will hopefully be restored to the security and patrol of our local communities. Can you imagine a future where policing is outsourced to a for profit corporation!!!??? Think of what our services would be like then. Detroit police offices start around $30,000
    salary to get shot at. Unfortunately, unions are the only method for which Teachers, firefighters and Police can resort to in order to obtain a living wage.
    I hope you can see my position and yes I agree that the charity in its phone pitch would disclose more accurately the purpose and current use of its funding in the future.

    • I have no problem with you donating to the NPTA so long as you are aware that (1) almost all of the money donated goes to an outside paid fundraiser, (2) almost none of it benefits police officers in any way, (3) the NPTA is not a charity and (4) your donation is not tax-deductible.

  14. This “organization” contacted my mother in New Jersey. Mom has a 24/7 caregiver living with her & the caregiver told them “NO”.. 6 days later we recieve a letter stating that we “pledged” $25… I have half a mind to contact my attorney regarding predatory fundraising.. I’m sure they do this all the time to the elderly…

  15. Glad I found this blog. When I received a call from a local number here in Arkansas I thought OK I’ll donate $15.00. After reading several pages of complaints they will receive nothing. SCAM

  16. I was just getting ready to write my $15 check when I looked them up and found this very informative page. I too was asked to give them my debit card number. After telling them no 3 times, I told them mail it or forget it.
    After reading how much really goes to anything worthwhile, they will not be getting my money.

  17. Just got a call from them and knew immediately that it was a scam. I did a quick check with the NJ Department of Consumer Affairs and they are not a registered charity in NJ, which I believe, makes their solicitation illegal.

  18. So glad I Googled NPTA, and found this blog. I was trying to find out what percentage of the money actually went to a fallen officers family. I sent my pledge paper back and explained I would be donating in my home state due to some events that had happened. Also, we donate locally. That was before I found this! I am the parent of a State Trooper. Organizations like this is why so many will not donate to real time issues. Thank you for the info.

  19. Got a call from the National Police and Troopers Association per the computer-voiced call. The number was from Albemarle, NC, 704-422-8940. Things went downhill fast when I asked what percentage of every dollar went to fundraising vs. help for the police. After Mr. Computer voice trying to transfer me, I spoke with a real person who told me only 10 cents of every dollar was used for the police.

    This is a total scam.

    • They may have gotten a little smarter, as when I asked about the percentage of donation that actually goes to help the police and troopers, my human solicitor put her hand over the phone, then came back and told me, “90%, ma’am”.
      I was going to send my check, because I don’t like going back on promises, but something told me to check them out, first. Glad I did.

      • That doesn’t sound to me like it’s smarter. It sounds to me like a lie. Even by its own financial statements, the NPTA/IUPA spends only a fraction of the amoutn raised on police and troopers, even if you include the amount spent for collective bargaining, which most certainly is not a charitable pursuit.

  20. I sat down to write a check to this org today. My husband fielded the call from the solicitor. When the org called to remind us to pay the pledge, I told him I could not right then. He tried to bully me, saying “It only takes a few seconds…grab your card and read the numbers and you are done.” I didn’t take too kindly to this, for I was with an insurance adjuster (and told him so, but he was not amused) in my garage talking over the mishap of a tree thru our roof from a recent storm. I only took the call thinking it was my husband calling me back. Shame on me for not looking at the number, however, had I not had the opportunity to have been treated rudely, I might not have looked up the organization to double check. I couldn’t believe a trooper(s) association would condone such rude happenings on their behalf, thus my suspicion. I no longer feel obligated to fulfill the pledge based on this research. Be forewarned.

    • The last thing the NPTA wants you to do is to do some research on where the money goes that is raised from folks like you. It is an absolute scandal that charity regulators allow a police union to masquerade as a charity.

  21. i just got a robocall from this organization. The live person i spoke with said that 90% of my gift would go to administration and 10% to actual charitable purposes. I told the person I respectively decline to make a gift based on that outrageous percentage. She hung up.

    • I got a call two days asking for a donation I pledged 15.00 because i am on fixed income. I got the pledge card in two days It was an eye opener because the postal service is NEVER this fast. I am sucpisous of not being tax deductible To my knowledge all charities are.They didn’t want the IRS involved.I am from North Carolina.

  22. Thanks for posting this article…I vaguely remembered this group from a few years ago and, after hanging up following a solicitation call which sounded like a boiler room operation, I decided to double check. Glad I did…sad they’re taking advantage of the current crisis, but it doesn’t surprise me. I’ll be directing my charitable contributions elsewhere…

    • We’ve received several calls from this group and I foolishly promised $20.00. However, something in my gut felt wrong so I wouldn’t give my credit card. After researching their group further I will never donate a penny. I run a charity for Veterans and 100% of the money collected is dedicated to our Mission. I’m very disturbed by these scammers since our Police depts. work very hard and do not need their group used in this manner. I intend to return my donation pledge with a turse note and f they contact us again, I’m calling the Police, Charity folks who monitor them or whomever I can to report this scam. I am beyond disgusted but thank everyone who took the time to post. Our donations will only support our local police depts. who deserve 100% of the monies. DO NOT send these people money.
      Kim W.

  23. July 14, 2016: I got the same aggressive call as others and asked whether it was local (since the call came from Olympia) or national. A man told me national and pushed three times for my credit or debit card. I said mail or nothing. But I will not be donating after reading all this. I’m in Washington state.

    • I just got off the phone with this group. Their number was spoofed to look like a local call. The great length of time for answering my questions let me know I was talking to a computer. I am disappointed a police union is involved with this. Officers should tell them to stop it. I never give to any charity, including my favorites in response to a call.

      • I went to their website to send a nasty note and found this “due to it’s particular tax status (501(c)5), donations are not tax deductable” (sic, they can’t spell either)

  24. I just got a call (Kirkland, WA) and talk about the hard sell! The guy just kept reading from his script when I asked questions. Fortunately, a quick Google search brought this site up and I told the scammer to back off and not call me again. Especially after the recent police shootings in Dallas, trying to scam money for this is reprehensible. What a scumbag.

  25. I just received a call in Sedalia MO – thanks – I will not send back my pledge card but a note saying why I will not honor the pledge. thanks for the information. I felt the need to donate with the recent shootings in Dallas.

  26. another scam! We’re beginning to sound like 3rd. world countries where the police are a big part of the problem!

    • I would like to think that 99 % of our policed force are honest hard working members of society, only working for the good of society. It is the few who cause all the problems. We need to support our police especially the families of those who are killed making our communities safe. Just always check on how much goes to the people who need it. I always tell them I will contribute after I check on your status.

  27. Our local police department in St. Louis MO, The MO state troopers never do phone calling to raise money or door knocking. They also are always telling the NEWS shows this to keep people from getting scammed. I believe Texas Troopers and Dallas police do the same. They say if you want to give money to call the department and they will direct you on how to go about it.
    MY girl friend got the call this morning and agreed to pay 25, but only by mail. We will be sending the copy of this blog to them.

  28. I got the call from this group and and he transfer my call to the lady… lady said please give me your credit card or debit card… she said this is the bill and demand me to pay her now…. OMG,,,,

  29. I sent them a check for $25.00 (3/1/16) which was more than I promised. Now on my monthly bank statement I find a credit of 0.05 on 3/28/16 and a debit of 0.04 on the same day. I am told this is SOP for scammers.

    • Those small charges and debits are often used to test the validity of a bank account. You might call your bank and ask, if you cannot tell from your statement, who put those items on your account. Then ask for the proof the bank has that you authorized these charges and debits. Ask if the news media might be interested in this.

    • I set up a monthly payment using my debit card. To make sure it would work they credited my account then debited it. It looks like they set up your account for automatic withdrawals.

      • A 501(c)(5) is a tax-exempt organization, but it is not a charity. This one raises money from the public in a very deceptive way, hiding the fact that it’s a labor union and falsely stating that the purpose is for death benefits of fallen officers.

  30. This group just called me in AZ. A quick search on Bing of CPI (Charitable Promotions Inc), one of the names given along with the Trooper Association name, brought a pop-up warning from Bing about malware if I clicked on the link! Your info validates that warning. Thank you.

      • I might just go ahead and send them half of one percent of the $25 I agreed to (12¢). That would reflect their charitable spirit.

          • Could I ask you a question regarding the charity issue and police organization;

            I see your name appear several times commenting on this issue of bogus charity calls. As a former police officer, I can tell you that we, the police officers, are more troubled, pissed off that these scam companies pose as police raising money for police and their families when in fact, they don’t. Your local or state Attorney General is the one who should be placing criminal charges against these thugs. Many of these callers working for these companies have criminal records. If you want to give money to police, give to your local police offices association. These soliciting companies, close as fast as they open a new company only to close and start a new one.

            I just want to make sure the readers understand that the police officer working the street has nothing to do with these crooks.

            Thanks for reading.

            Bobby Murphy

          • Unfortunately, the bogus charity in the post to which you are responding–the thugs, in your words–is owned by a police union! The National Police and Troopers Association is simply a trade name of the International Union of Police Associations AFL-CIO. The last time I looked at its financial filings, only 3/10th of 1% of every dollar donated–that’s right, just 30 cents of every $100 raised–went to help the families of injured law enforcement personnel. Some 91 cents went to the outside fundraiser, and almost all the rest went to help fund collective bargaining efforts for the union. I have no problem with unions, but collective bargaining is not a charitable purpose. Here, the organization is not posing as police, they are the police!

  31. I’m so glad I read your article. I became suspicious when they wanted to get a credit card payment over the phone and were very pushy about doing so. Thanks so much. I just ripped up my return pledge card. I live in Pa.

  32. I just got off of the phone with them (14-March-2016) – now calling West Virginians, too…Thanks for the information

  33. I never do a donation over the phone so the NPTA sent me their information, donor card and sticker via mail. I sent a pic of their letter to the supervisor at my local state police barracks. He never he heard of them. Sadly, they had a trooper killed in the line of duty. It’s amazing these folks can sleep at night. Thanks for you info!

  34. I have been a Virginia Police Officer/ Deputy Sheriff for the past 21 years. I have never heard of this organization. The computer voice said that it would help families of officers that were killed in the line of duty. I immediately told them that I had never heard of them and began looking them up. I have buried several friends and never heard them help the first family member. There are legitimate organizations that do help. Concerns of Police Survivors and the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund and the Southern States Police Benevolent Association are among organizations that do help police and deputies when they need it. These organizations that say they are law enforcement related and are not helping law enforcement are actually more of a hurt than help to us. COPS gave a great deal of assistance when one of the deputies at my agency was killed. They have police widows that work for them. They have summer camps for kid survivors. There are many other things that they do for survivors too. http://www.nationalcops.org/

    • Sadly, I’m not sure I agree with your assessment of two of three organizations you cite. By my reading of its IRS Form 990 for 2013, the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund gave not one dime of the $16 million raised through donations to families of fallen officers. About two-third of the money spent went for direct mail and fundraising. The Southern States Police Benevolent Association is not a charity at all, but a labor organization. It received no donations from the public. However, its IRS Form 990 for 2014 also showed no money going to families of fallen officers. Concerns of Police Survivors did much, much better in this regard.

  35. I can’t thank you enough for exposing these frauds!! I was just about to write my $35.00 check to them,but thought it was odd that they’re not a tax-deductible charity. This really irks me,because it makes REAL charities have to struggle even harder now that skepticism is high. Low lifes. PS…I’m in Texas,so yes,they solicit everywhere.

    • They aren’t frauds for example united way is that a fraud? nope but they spend millions of dollars on a super bowl commercial every year thats their way of fundraising so at the end of the year in essence about 10% of donations go to the organization yes about 18% goes to the npta but honestly if noone raises funds for this noone volunteers to help. congrats for being brainwashed by this douche.

  36. I live in Philadelphia – the little sticker they send as a thank you claims to be illegal to use in PA & CA – why would they send it?

  37. Thanks for your blog. When I got the phone call last week in Baltimore, I asked them to send me the information by mail and I would send in $35. I got pushed hard for my credit card number and told them: “Surely an organization such as yours would understand why I would not give a cc# over the phone to someone I do not know.” Then I was told that they would not ask for the security code, and I thought, they can still charge the card or why would they ask for it. About an hour later I got a call from a different person from NPTA asking for my cc# (with the knowledge that I had already agreed to contribute). That’s strike 3 in my book. Thanks SO much for the confirmation.

  38. Thanks for the info. Glad to have read this before sending my donation.
    I’m thankful for Google too – makes research easier.

  39. my wife said NO to them ans we got a pledge for 20 dollars in the mail with that little sticker it felt wrong and I then found your report. God thank you for your report we need more people like you !!!

      • That is Exactly what I was thinking about doing as I was reading your article. So glad I investigated it. Got my envelope today and I just felt something was not right with it because they didn’t say much on the phone and they turned me right over for address confirmation and send out a pledge card. Most truly worthy charities today take your payment by phone. This was a little old school i though. Thanks for your article.

  40. Pingback: Sixth candidate in Seattle for 'America's Stupidest Charities' | New To Seattle

  41. Just got my call from an arrogant fast-talking fellow claiming that they only accept credit card donations because sending checks through the mail was the number one cause of identity theft. When I told him that I would not provide the information over the phone, it was amazing how quickly he was able to confirm my address and name. He also told me that he would provide me a “receipt” for $25 by mail. I asked him if he already had my credit card information and if he intended on charging me and he said “no”. Thank you so much for your blog! This practice is detestable and should be illegal!

  42. Thank you for your report on the NP&T Assn. I was in a hurry when they called, said,”yes, yes, yes,” but as soon as I received their mailing, something in my gut said “check this out first.” It was the “AFL-CIO” that caught my eye. Sorry, but I do not believe there is a good reason for these unions now that we have laws that cover just about everything in the world.

    • I also got a phone call from this outfit asking for a donation. I asked them to send me a donation letter and when I got the letter I read it and felt that something was wrong. I called our local township police department office and the lady who answered the phone told me that she had worked for the township police for more than 20 years and never heard of the NP&T Assoc.and thought it was a scam.
      I did not send any money to the NP&T and now they sent me another solicitation letter which I promptly shredded. I am tempted to call their toll free number and leave a message which calls them a scam and I maybe I will send a copy of their letter to the county district attorney’s office and ask them to investigate the NP&T Assoc.

  43. they called me as the law enf edu pro,when i got a card in mail,it was from national police & trooper association.i sent back card with info from your .i am on don’t call list and they should’t have called my number anyway.thank-you for all the info.

  44. They’ve been calling me once a week, the solicitor tells me that he’s calling on behalf of the International Organization of Police Association to collect money for the “families of fallen officers”, and I supposed to get a sticker or something if I send the money. I keep getting the same guy every time, very loud, authoritative voice. He gets uncomfortable when I tell him I won’t give money over the phone and ask him to send me something by mail, and gets aggressive when I try to end the call. I’m guessing from the timing of the calls I’m getting, these fundraisers are an underhanded way for the union to to collect money for political campaigns, probably for candidates I would never support if they were trying to collect money directly. My local police department actually posted a message in the papers trying to discourage people to donate money over the phone, which suggests to me that these folks really aren’t working with the police; I intend to say the police told me not to donate money over the phone the next time these guys call; I suppose at the worst, it’ll accomplish nothing, maybe I’ll get something in writing from them instead which could be amusing, and best-case scenario it’ll scare them off and they’ll leave me alone.

    • My post is about the International Union of Police Associations, AFL-CIO, raising money as the National Police and Trooper Association. You make reference to the “International Organization of Police Associations.” which is an outfit I am not familiar with. Many of these law enforcement groups have similar names, so one has to be careful. But very, very few of them are what I would consider legitimate charities. The one I wrote about isn’t a charity at all, but simply a labor union raising funds for collective bargaining by trying to fool donors.

  45. I received a call this week and was asked for a donation. After I agreed, I was surprised how quickly they tried to get my credit card info over the phone. I was skeptical, so I asked to pledge through mail and not over the phone. They insisted on taking my money over the phone, but then agreed to send me the info via us mail. I don not think I will donate now after doing a quick internet search of this organization. I’m on the “do not call” list but apparently “charity” organizations can bypass that. Very slick telemarketers. You’re better off mailing a check to a fallen police officer’s family, you’ll get more for your money.

  46. Got a call last week and said I would agree to send a donation. After reading this, I have changed my mind……can I be held responsible if I said I would donate????

    • Legally, it might depend on where you live. But as a practical matter there’s little a charity can do if you decide not to pay other than write you a nasty letter. Unless the pledge was for some huge amount of money, it wouldn’t make sense for the charity to sue.

    • I live in West Virginia and received a call asking for a donation and asked about charging it to a credit card. I told them to send the info by mail. After receiving the literature I looked it up and found that the Paradise Plaza PMB 263 Sarasota. Fl was not a good address. I don’t plan on answering any of their phone calls or sending money if it cannot be found. I found some info from a Tampa TV station that was about 4 years old and it sounds like the same thing.

      • The biggest problem is that the entity that called you is not a charity but deceptively wants you to think it is. It is a labor union, and any money given would be used to negotiate collective bargaining agreements on behalf of the union. While there’s nothing wrong with unions, paying to support one is not a charitable purpose. Were you told up front on the phone that your contribution would not be tax-deductible? The NPTA//IUPA is classified by the IRS as a 501(c)(5) organization, which includes labor unions, Only donations to a (501)(c)(3)–charities like the Salvation Army and United Way–are deductible.

    • I wouldn’t worry about it. I just received a mailing from them claiming that I pledged $25 on a phone call on 6/18/2015. Problem is, I was out of the country at that time. They are con artists – don’t help them out.

  47. Pingback: Scuzzy charity working Seattle calls for the fourth time - New To Seattle

  48. Yesterday I received a call from a voice that at first sounded human but now I believe it could have been a computer generated voice – telling me this donation goes to the families of fallen officers and asking could they depend on my support.. I told the caller I have never heard of it and declined. Seems to me support is managed another way and that it is not a legitimate fund raiser.

  49. I just received a letter in the mail, thanking me for my pledge of $25 made on 3/17. However, I was away that whole week. In addition, I NEVER give to police “charities” since they are almost all scams. I give to the police in my town when they ask. And I always check out the charity online while talking to the slimeballs who call to demand money, just for fun. When I say, “Oh, I see you are one of the worst scams in the country!” they start to mumble. Then I scream in their ears. Then they hang up.

  50. I received a call from this ‘charity’ and told them I would donate $50.00 (the telemarketer seemed surprised by the amount), but I wanted to support law enforcement. Before writing a check and sending it I looked online to check it out – and look what I find. I am so glad I decided to make sure this was ligit.- you saved me $50. Now I am going back online to look for a real charity to help law enforcement.

    Thank you.

  51. Thanks for this blog. I got a call from them two weeks ago. I ask them to send info. They won’t be getting a contribution.

  52. My standard response to telemarketers is “I don’t respond to phone requests for donations. If you send your info and it checks out I will consider making a donation.” Sure enough, I recently got such a phone call, made such a response, and now am in possession of a sheaf of papers from National Police and Trooper Association asking for me to honor my “pledge”. True to form, I located this Internet thread and am consequently trashing the whole crooked thing.
    I have also had within the past few months an almost identical transaction with a a similarly official sounding/looking bunch of crooks working the fireman angle. I did them the same way.
    I wish I could imagine a response to these criminals that would cost them, like making them pick up the postage for mailing them a brick. Unfortunately, I can’t think of anything.

    • Many of these sketchy charities are very aggressive about pursuing what they said was a pledge, implying that it’s legally binding (it generally isn’t) and vague threatening bad outcomes if the money isn’t paid. My personal experience with such charities has been a little different. Like yours, my standard line is that I would be delighted to review any literature sent me but I can’t possible commit until then. I make it clear I haven’t pledged anything. I never have received a follow-up mailing, either informational or trying to collect on an alleged pledge.

  53. I want to thank you for the effort exposing these bums. As a respectful citizen for law enforcement, it simply put, pisses me off allowing this kind of behavior. Lawful crooks! ATMO
    Thanks and keep up the good work.

  54. The phone solicitor spoke with a booming voice of authority, like a policeman would. He knew my name and address and my wife’s name. He said that our charitable donations would be tax deductible, something that their web-site contradicts. It was hard to say no, but I did. I’ll probably get a note in the mail from them anyway, reminding me that I pledged on the phone. The same thing has happened to me with other police associations. Ya gotta wonder if they have a database that real police can check.

  55. I received the same call and they did request my CC information for my donation for the NPFA of Jersey City, NJ. Thank you for preventing me from making a mistake!

      • Thank you for your diligence to research these shams and make the information public.

        My call came on Christmas Eve, 2014. I felt compelled to sponsor NPTA to show MY support of law enforcement, especially in light of recent events. That old “gut” feeling made me search them and find your blog!! Thank goodness!! I will spend the cost of a stamp to let them know they’ve been busted!!

        Thank you for saving us money and face.

  56. Pingback: Another iffy police outfit calls around Seattle - New To Seattle

  57. I received a phone call just the other day. I just purchase a money order, but something inside of me felt funny. I am glad that I found your web page first. I am going to give this money order to whom I know, will use it in good and legal way. Thank you so much!

  58. One of the many, many problems with the National Police and Trooper Association, a trade name of the International Union of Police Associations, AFL-CIO, is that the organization is not a charity at all, but does little to state that in its telephone solicitations. What’s going on is a borderline cover-up, but, from the standpoint of the union, understandable. After all, how many donations do you think would come in if the caller said, “We’re trying to raise money so that we can hire better negotiators and get more money for our members at the expense of taxpayers like you.”

  59. Just got a call from these lovely folks. The first guy was a fast talker but he was human, as he did respond to a couple of questions. He made me promise twice that I would send money when I got their kit and I said yes. Then he handed me over to someone else who verified my name and address (they had the name right but the address wrong). She made me promise they could count on me, too, just as soon as I got my kit. I said yes again. FWIW, they never did ask me for my credit card number. Something didn’t feel right so I hit the internet as soon as I hung up. Boy am I glad I did! I have no intention of sending these people a check, but I am going to send them a copy of this article and a copy of their report from the Better Business Bureau. Thank you so much for saving my money for a more worthwhile charity!

  60. You should consult with a legal advisor, but it’s hard to imagine that the organization would pursue your reported pledge beyond sending a letter or two. You likely have plenty of grounds to assert you weren’t told the full story, and the publicity generated over any attempt to collect would be withering to the organization .

  61. I fell for this on the phone but do not have credit cards (and they DID ASK for). So they have sent 2 letters asking for my pledge money. Now after learning they are not an organization I want to give money to, am I legally bound to give them a check for my recorded pledge to do so?

  62. Just got a call from these folks, and with all due respect to nom’s entry above, they DO ask for your credit card info. The telemarketers on the phone are very, very good at sticking to the script and moving things very quickly towards their goal: getting your money with a minimum of questions. So watch yourself. There was no mention of the option of sending a check. It was simply “would you like to use your MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover card, sir?” Maybe I’m wrong about the sir. Yeah, they probably didn’t say that part.

  63. Thanks for the research. I recently moved, and started getting calls from this group (with a Manhattan area code) within 48 hours of having our phone setup. I never answer the phone if I don’t recognize the caller, so I haven’t had the pleasure of actually interacting with these people, but I’d also note that their voice mail messages seem designed to creep you out and imply that real cops are calling your house. The first one was a very gruff, rapid male voice saying something like “National Police and Trooper Association, need to get in touch with you about an important matter.” Now, even more creepily, they use my name, so that the message is “James there . . . . hello?” in what’s probably a computer generated voice.

  64. I would just like to say a few things that you have wrong ….The donation center never and I mean never asks for your credit card. They give you all the information you ask for you just have to be calm and understand all of the regulations that are put on the foundation. Also the caller does not see your money!!!! I mean never!!! It goes to a donation center from there it is distriputed to the foundation as well as the other allotments. Also you are given all of the numbers to call to get all of the information you need to know that the NPTA is legit and is helping these offercers families. Also they never say that they are a cop never! You will get a thank you letter as well as a decal that also comes with a DNA kit for your family as well as a conformation letter with seal. Also the caller’s who call you are registered solisoters with the state as well as the national registration. You have to understand that all of the money can not go to families because for one all those envoploes cost you know that also the millions of donators decals and kits. It also tells you all that your money goes to it mentions to pay for the cost of the drive!!!! So you know exactly what you get so try to understand and not just take someone’s opionon of a call he got that made him mad take everything into account. I would also tell you that you are taking to a real person do not think just because they are reading a script with a computer that they are not real. It makes calls fast and gets you off the phone quicker so you can go about your day as well as them also take into account they can not lie!!! they tell you that not all the money goes to the families, but it does all go to the charity what they do after that is there doing not the call centers. So before you call the workers scum think about what information is givin to them about what they are doing!!! Thank you

  65. It is extremely sad that an organization representing sworn law enforcement personnel tries to deceive the public in such a fashion. Fortunately, I know from the number of hits this post gets every day that some would-be donors are taking the time to check. I just looked and the fundraising website still spells NPTA in both the singular and the plural.

  66. thanks for the info i received a call from this group and pledged a donation amount upon receiving the pledge paperwork i checked the web for info to confirm if this was a legitimate “CHARITY” for police officers as some of my immediate family members and close friends are commissioned police officers and found your research very helpful in my decision NOT to contribute.this is a disgrace and there should be criminal charges against this organization and its affiliates. this was the second article i came across, the first being a report from the BBB saying: This Charity did not provide requested information. As a result, the Better Business Bureau cannot determine if it meets standards. also: This charitable organization either has not responded to written BBB requests for information or has declined to be evaluated in relation to BBB Standards for Charity Accountability. Charity participation in BBB review is voluntary. However, without the requested information, it is not possible to determine whether this charity adheres to all of the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability. The BBB encourages charities to disclose accountability information beyond that typically included in financial statements and government filings, in order to demonstrate transparency and strengthen public trust in the charitable sector. the address listed with BBB (PO Box 26368 Wauwatosa, WI 53226) did not match the address listed on the paperwork i received (PO BOX 670 ELM GROVE Wisconsin 53122). very helpful info i will not be sending a anything to this scam organization…

  67. these people just called me. I am sooo glad I found your article. When I told the lady I needed to research first, I could tell she was shocked. They did their pitch SOOOO fast and before I knew it she was asking “visa or mastercard” She then fumbled to find me a number to call. Thank you very much for this informative article.

  68. Thanks for doing all of the research! I am attaching a copy of your post to the form they sent me and mailing it back to them. Scuzballs!

  69. After getting 2 pledge cards in the mail & not sending the check out I got a call from them. I told the woman that I had only agreed to sending out the pledge if I found that they were legit on the internet which was not the case. She insisted that they were a very good charitable organization & I could read about them on their website http://www.iupa.org. When they originally called me they said they were the National Police & Trooper Association & the 2 pledge cards I received said the same & had a Jersey City, NJ address to send the check.
    From what I have read they are out of Sarasota but I guess they give different addresses to send the checks to along with going by different names to really make it confusing. It doesn’t matter which name you look them up on the web or what address they use, they all show them to be one of the worst charities, or scuzziest charities as you have so correctly worded it.
    I’m very grateful to have the internet to help steer me clear from these dishonest people so I don’t end up giving my hard earned money to them.

  70. Another blog pointed me in the direction of police unions. I think that most things the police union is up to would either be efforts to undermine the constitution of united states or otherwise offensive nature such as tax evasion or undocumented fund raising through forfeiture laws (=money laundry). At least two good reasons why we all should keep an eye on these entities and their respective members. I will tell a friend and a good day acquaintance about this.

  71. I made a pledge of $25 to the “National Police and Trooper Association” of Jersey City, NJ. I guess they are the same group as the one in Seattle you are writing about. After I gave them my pledge amt., I told them I would send the check after I checked them out on the internet to see if they were legit & if so I’ll send the check. If not then I wouldn’t be sending a check.
    The processor I spoke to didn’t say anything when I told him I would be doing the research on the web, he just continued talking as if I hadn’t mentioned it which raised a red flag to me.
    I have received two letters so far asking for the pledge which I have thrown out & will continue to do if they send any more.
    I’m very thankful to you & others who take the time to look into & warn people about these types of fraudulent charities because I always check the internet first before I give.

  72. Just got a call from the scuzzballs. While it’s fun to torment them–“Wow! No LESS than 10 percent will go to programs? Is it even possible to give less than that and still continue to rip off the tax payer as well as the innocents who give to you? Aren’t you ashamed? Did your mother really bring you up this way?”–I feel bad for all the people who really do give their hard-earned money to these jerks.

  73. I just tore up my check that was already sealed in the envelope. I am so glad I checked before putting the stamp on and mailing it! I obviously need to get back in the habit of checking before I put pen to paper. Thank you.

  74. I, too, found your article both enlightening and helpful as I receive countless solicitation calls from “charities”. Having worked most of my career in not-for-profit service delivery for adults with intellectual disabilities, where fund-raising is required to make up the difference of federal/state funding and actual costs, shady groups likes the NPTA make it really hard to convince many individuals there are LEGITITMATE CHARITIES. As you stated, the NPTA’s unwillingness to cooperate with the Better Business Bureau in an evaluation for charities raises a huge red flag of their legitimacy. Unfortunately, many unsuspecting donors will never know this and send their often hard to come by dollars to these jerks!

  75. Thanks. This post has become one of the most viewed on this site. I assume that’s because the “charity” is casting its net far and wide but would-be donors before committing are doing a little Internet research first.

  76. Well, the NPTA does pitch itself as a charity, and the parent organization is registered as an exempt entity. I doubt that many people reading my post or even just the headline–“among the scuzziest trolling in Seattle”–would have much doubt about my overall view. I agree with your implicit criticism of regulators; the post points out the failings of the Washington State Secretary of State’s office in this regard.

  77. With respect for your investigative skills, William, I’d like to suggest that using the word “charity” to describe organizations at this end of the scuzziness spectrum is doing them an undeserved favor. What they are is cheats masquerading as charities. The fact that they are able to arrange things so they show up on official lists of “charities” is embarrassing in many ways; we others are under no obligation to follow the terminological lead of the regulators.

    • We got a call from this group while signing paperwork for the ADT installer the day we moved into the house we bought. My husband got the call and pledge $100 thinking it was for a good cause. I’m naturally suspicious of charities since there is so much fraud and I found this blog post via Google. I showed my husband and obviously we won’t be sending the $100. If we had a printer at home I would do the same thing another commenter did and print the article and mail it back with the pledge page.
      Thank you for posting this information!!!

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