Community Issues

FTC Shuts Down Two "Sham" Charities

Who got busted, and how to avoid being a victim when telemarketers come calling


Two companies that the feds say, preyed on peoples' emotions to get them to contribute to fake charities won't be doing that any more. The Federal Trade Commission has shut down the operations of the Disabled Police and Sheriffs Foundation and American Veterans Foundation, Inc.

DPSF (also doing business as The American Police and Sheriffs Association, and Police Officers Safety Association) falsely told consumers their donations would be used to help police officers and families of officers killed in the line of duty. The FTC says people donated $9.9 million, and almost none of it went to help police officers, sheriffs or their families.

"Cheating citizens out of money and personally profiting under the guise of helping disabled law enforcement is despicable," said Eric Schmitt, Missouri Attorney General, who partnered with the FTC in the case. The DPSF was ordered to pay back the $9.9m, and what the FTC is able to collect will go to legitimate charities that actually help disabled police.

Most of the money collected by one charity went to pay telemarketers and company officials

AVF claimed their donations would go for care packages for deployed service members , assistance to vets facing homelessness, and counseling. Instead, the FTC says, most of the money went to telemarketers, paying company officials, and other overhead. This fraudulent charity took in millions of dollars from generous donors who believed the funds would go to active military members and veterans, said Ashley Moody, Florida Attorney General, who partnered with the FTC on this one.

"Deceiving donors by exploiting the brave men and women who protect our country is disgraceful." Ashley Moody, Florida Attorney General

You can make sure your donations count -- and that you're not being ripped off -- by checking out a charity before you give. Click here to learn more.

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