An organization known as the “Police Protective Fund” is currently soliciting donations in Buncombe County. This solicitation can occur by both direct mailing and by telephone (charities are exempt from the Federal Trade Commission’s “Do Not Call Registry”). The Asheville Police Department would like to take this opportunity to inform the residents of Asheville that no portion of the donations made to the “Police Protective Fund” are passed down to the Asheville Police Department. Residents should exercise caution when making charitable contributions. Recently, the Attorney General’s Office in North Carolina has been asked to review the practices and legitimacy of the “Police Protective Fund” so we may provide further guidance to those who are considering making a charitable contribution. Although the “Police Protective Fund” is a legitimate business, having a legal status as a non-profit charity does not mean the group is legitimate and some groups are really businesses run to provide salaries and other perks for their leaders and workers.
The Asheville Police Department offers the following tips regarding charities:
Ask for written information about the charity, including name, address and telephone number. A legitimate charity or fundraiser will give out information about the charity’s mission, how your donation will be used and proof that your contribution is tax deductible. Research the organization via the internet or another source to see if there have been any complaints or concerns with their practices. Look at the percentage of donations they provide to organizations verses what percentage they retain for “administrative cost”.
Check with the North Carolina Secretary of State. Organizations that either solicit contributions from North Carolina residents or are located in North Carolina are required to be registered with the Office of the Secretary of State. Remember that most charitable organizations who solicit door-to-door in the City of Asheville must also be registered in accordance with the City’s Code of Ordinances.
Check with local recipients. If giving to local organizations is important to you, make sure they will benefit from your generosity. If a charity tells you that your dollars will support a local organization, such as a police department, fire department or emergency medical service, make a call to the organization to verify the claim.
Watch out for similar sounding names. Some phony charities use names that closely resemble those of respected, legitimate organizations.
Know the difference between “tax exempt” and “tax deductible”. Tax exempt means the organization does not have to pay taxes. Tax deductible means you can deduct your contribution on your federal income tax return. Even if an organization is tax exempt, your contribution may not be tax deductible. If a tax deduction is important to you, ask for a receipt showing the amount of your contribution and stating that it is a tax deductible donation.
Refuse high pressure appeals. Legitimate fundraisers won’t push you to give on the spot.
Be wary of charities offering to send a courier or overnight delivery service to collect your donation immediately.
For more information contact Asheville Police Department Officer Allen Dunlap, Crime Prevention Specialist at 828-259-5834 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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