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Police Charity Scams

So it's that time of year (when isn't it?) when excessive robocalling by charities are in full effect. Recently, I found a number for the "Ohio Troopers Coalition" 614-360-2354, which was reportedly calling people multiple times in a row, many times a week, regarding donations to a charity to benefit local police. I called the number and I was surprised at how convincing their robotic call attendant "Joel Collins" was. After talking to this robot and playing with triggered responses, I got myself transferred to the processing attendant who was a real person.

They tried to tell me that it wasn't a robot, and that I was speaking to a live person before I was transferred. I called their bluff, and she eventually handed me over to her supervisor, who gave me the same spiel about their charity benefiting local cops and how I was NOT talking to a robot at first. I asked more questions about the organization, and he responded by saying that I needed to call a toll-free number to "speak to the higher ups". Interestingly, he stated that they weren't a 501c3, but another class of charity where the donations aren't tax deductible. When I said that I was looking into their organization for fraud, he suddenly went silent, and couldn't hear anything for about 10 seconds. Strange how that works huh? 

So I called that toll free number (866-609-1880), and they tell me that they have no idea what they were talking about over at the other number, and that they are just subcontracted to handle calls. The person on the other end refused to tell me his name, or the name of the company he worked for "because of issues we've had in the past". What I did know was that all of the organizations are connected to a New Jersey based call center called Residential Programs Inc., who has been busted for illegal robocalling and deceptive practices in the past. They also allegedly keep almost all of the money they rake in when they do get contracted by organizations, probably to buy more robots.

Speaking of robots, that voice that answered the first number sounded very familiar to me and a different robocalling scam operation. This was a police charity in Arizona that had been reported doing the same endless dialing. I dug up their number (602-926-7318) and I called them. They had a charmingly vague out of office message, but it was late, so I guess the robot had to go to sleep. I called the Ohio number back right after, and I heard the same message! I knew there was a link somehow, probably the same voicemail checked by the call center. I did a search for "Fraternal Order of Police" on a number of phone watchdog sites, and I found a ton more numbers all reported to different states doing the same thing. I called each number and received the exact same out of office message, sometimes in a female voice. They all said "We cannot take your call because we are either assisting other customers, away from our desk, or could be closed..." 

Let it be known that organizations calling endlessly are robocalling, which is illegal in some parts of the country. Residential Programs Inc. is likely the culprit behind all of this, and should be held accountable. Even if they are donating some portion of their proceeds to local police agencies, the amount is tiny, and their methods are highly questionable, bordering on ineffective. If you do want to donate to local police and fire causes, contact your local departments to see what you can do! 

Here are the other numbers I found with the same Robot/Voicemail Message (depending on the time of day.) Most of the numbers are VoIP numbers, the others I suspect are local numbers forwarded to other VoIP numbers in their calling center. There are definitely more out there, if you find any, please share!

980-265-3106 North Carolina FOP Charity Scam - Female Voice [PeerlessNetwork | Voip]
919-694-4054 North Carolina FOP Charity Scam [BroadVox | Voip]
954-533-8128 Florida FOP Charity Scam [Comcast Cell Phone]
661-246-4307 California FOP Charity Scam [O1 Communications | Voip]
706-341-0097 Georgia FOP Charity Scam [PeerlessNetwork | Voip]
317-559-7838 Indiana FOP Charity Scam [Hook Mobile | VoIP]
510-201-5540 California FOP Charity Scam [Peerless Network|VoIP]
402-932-8633 Nebraska FOP Charity Scam [Coxcom]
410-705-6172 Maryland FOP Charity Scam [LocalAccessLLC]
443-217-0517 Maryland FOP Charity Scam [Cortel | Voip]
717-212-0047 Pennsylvania FOP Charity Scam [Cortel | Voip]
717-947-9165 Pennsylvania FOP Charity Scam [LocalAccessLLC]
717-745-0324 Pennsylvania FOP Charity Scam [CoreTel | Voip] 
610-301-0408 Pennsylvania FOP Charity Scam [CoreTel | Voip] 
484-929-1746 Pennsylvania FOP Charity Scam [LocalAccessLLC]
302-703-1412 Delaware FOP Charity Scam - Female Voice [PeerlessNetwork | Voip]
469-458-1936 Texas FOP Charity Scam [LocalAccessLLC]
469-458-1963 Texas FOP Charity Scam [LocalAccessLLC]
469-458-1962 Texas FOP Charity Scam [LocalAccessLLC]
214-393-2196 Texas FOP Charity Scam [PacWest]
512-225-7776 Texas FOP Charity Scam [Level 3 | Voip]

Here's some others that don't seem directly related, but are still scams.

617-548-9142 Massachusetts Police Coaltion - Just some guys cell phone... [Verizon Cell Phone]

941-208-8053 Florida Police Charity Scam. Different Female Voice and Message. [LocalAccessLLC]

412-345-3840 "You have reached the number for 123453840 that has not been assigned yet." PA Police Scam