Probable scam alert – and a particularly callous one at that

Just got this note from Steph. There could be a tiny chance it’s legit, but more likely just a particularly callous scam to try to wrangle your credit-card info:

I got a call a few minutes ago from a guy asking for a donation to the Seattle Officers group that will help police families. Not really sure the exact name. He asked if I could donate any amount of money using a credit card. I was going to but thought this might be one of those scam calls to get my card info. I asked him to send me info and I will donate then. I don’t know if that was a good idea. I feel bad if this was legit but it feels a little weird that they would be asking for money when one of their officers had just died but I don’t think they would do that. Anyways, I thought I would let you know to see if anyone else gets the call.

As published here and elsewhere, the only official way to donate to the Brenton Family Assistance Fund is by making a donation to it through any Bank of America branch. Time and time again, the warning is always “don’t give your credit card number to ANYONE over the phone.”

12 Replies to "Probable scam alert - and a particularly callous one at that"

  • WSEvelyn November 6, 2009 (8:27 pm)

    Very smart of you to think it through. It is so natural for most of us to want to donate especially to something as special as this cause is, but obviously you did the right thing. And “shame on you!” to the lowlifes who stoop so low as to go after our kindness’s!.

  • Amy November 6, 2009 (8:40 pm)

    I got a new one today (I think it’s new, anyway.)
    On my work cell, which has a 100% unlisted number, and nobody I know actually has the number other than my boss. A woman’s voice on the message, SUPER conversational tone saying, “Hey it’s me. I got the information on that program I mentioned. It looks like they can help lower interest rates a LOT. Give me a call and I’ll give you their contact info. You know the number, but it’s ########## in case you forgot.”

    Good try, but not good enough. But I suspect it would fool folks who weren’t paying close attention.

  • Alvis November 6, 2009 (9:07 pm)

    I got a junk call just last night from someone who asked by name for the previous home owner who hasn’t lived here for thirteen years. I told him he had the wrong number and hung up after he said he was with the “Fraternal Order of Police” but before he could ask for a donation. I don’t know whether the local chapter is using hardball solicitors or whether it’s worth supporting, but the FOP is an actual fraternal group with chapters nationwide. I know because a career detective friend of mine was the president of his state chapter for a few years before he retired.

  • guinivere November 6, 2009 (9:38 pm)

    Steph –
    I got a call from something similar. It was from the police or fire dept. He was quite aggressive and I felt weird about the whole thing. When I told him that I wasn’t going to give him any money, he just hung up. It just didn’t seem like it was legit.

  • Josh November 6, 2009 (9:47 pm)

    Neither FOP nor any other police benevolent association does, “cold calls.” You were right not to give your info. If you would like to donate to the Brenton family, Bank of America has a fund set up for that purpose (as mentioned in the article).

  • JanS November 7, 2009 (12:24 am)

    I’ve been getting many calls from “FOP” and Seattle Firefighters and one other , I can’t remember the name. I have caller ID, so never answer. Well, almost never. There are times when I pick up the receiver and set it down next to me. It takes about a minute or so for them to hang up. I never say a word. They have called as late as 9pm. It’s annoying, for sure.

  • bongo November 7, 2009 (9:57 am)

    Our family policy is to NEVER give donations over the phone or at the door…. unelss we personally know the individual calling or knocking. If people are responsibly collecting donations, they are happy to send/give info so you can make up your mind in your own time, not on their timeframe. NEVER give credit card info over the phone from any solicitor.

  • Paul November 8, 2009 (6:57 pm)

    FOP does do cold calls.I’ve been getting 3-4 calls per week from them in the past month. Google FOP, and you’ll see their history of agressive tactics and complaints. Please don’t give to the FOP – their mission may be noble, but their tactics are not.

  • Anibelle November 9, 2009 (11:39 am)

    We get these calls every night and they are legit. They have nothing to do with the police department at all, so it’s not a callous call at all and has nothing to do with Officer Brenton. It’s completely separate and weird you all linked those together. Bad journalism.

  • WSB November 9, 2009 (11:43 am)

    If that isn’t clear, the potential link isn’t coming from a journalist – it’s from one of the many WSB’ers who write to report suspicious potential scams, crimes, and many other types of events/concerns. The commenters are not engaging in journalism either. Given the fact this call was made the same day of the officer’s memorial, for someone to wonder about a link – and if it’s a scammer, for them to insinuate a link or choose the timing – would make all kinds of sense – TR

  • Steph November 9, 2009 (12:19 pm)

    I don’t think it is weird to link it together. I have seen many times on WSB about scam calls and felt this might have been one. Many, many people are getting scammed these days and I didn’t want someone else be a possible victim. I know I won’t give over the phone unless I have seen info on them before hand.

  • David November 14, 2009 (2:02 pm)

    We have been hounded by the WASFF and WA FOP FNDN. I assume one is the firefighters and the other is police. The strange thing is they are VERY rude when you ask them not to call. I have donated to the Fire Fighters in the past, but only by a pledge form, which they then sent to us with a sticker. It appeared very legitimate. Anyway I sent my report to Jesse Jones. We’ll see if he can verify if these guys are real or not. The calls are coming from WASFF at 360-230-1600 (7 calls) and WA FOP FNDN 206-866-1923, 425-437-0641, and 425-437-0650 (3 calls). These started in October but the Caller ID does not go back that far. There are more than 10 total calls.

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