Residents report solicitation calls

Staff Reports

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office received two separate reports on Wednesday concerning charitable organizations seeking donations.

The first report was from a resident who received a telephone call from someone who identified himself as being connected with "the fire department," according to Sgt. Tom Mezzetta.

"The caller was not specific as to what fire department he represented," Mezzetta said. "The caller said that he was seeking donations and asked the resident for his credit card number."

The resident didn't provide the caller with any information, according to Mezzetta.

"Had the caller obtained credit card information or other personal or financial information the small agreed upon donation would have most likely resulted in thousands of dollars worth of fraud and identity theft," he said.

The second report concerned a company soliciting funds for injured police officers.

"The company professes to be a legitimate non-profit and even has a local office in Carson City hired to help raise funds," Mezzetta said. "A search of the company's financial records indicates that in 2003, 88 percent of the monies collected went to cover the cost of overhead and salaries while only 11 percent went to actually help law enforcement officers. One percent went unaccounted. In 2004, 88 percent again went to cover the costs of salaries and overhead and 14 percent was directed to program services. There was no explanation as to why there was an additional 2 percent listed. Percentages were provided by the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association."

Mezzetta said that residents should research a charity before making a contribution to learn what it does with the money.

"Most organizations that rate and chart charitable organizations will only give a favorable rating if the charity spends no more than 25 percent on salaries and overhead costs," he said. "Never provide personal or banking information without full confidence that your information will not be misused."


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