The call was from a fellow, an obvious telemarketer with a smoothe-talking Midwest twang, hitting me immediately with the notion of contributing to the Police Protective Fund so that he could send me a decal for my car. [Some folks apparently seem to think that displaying such a sticker makes them immune from being pulled over for a violation.]
I probably should have kept the guy talking so that I could find out more, but as usual during the day I was busy and didn't need to be disturbed. So, I said, no. No is often a good response when there's money or a credit card information request involved. And, of course, I told him to take my number off of his calling list because it was on the Missouri No Call List. Hearing that, he hung up quickly.
What the Police Protective Fund was peaked my curiosity. So, I did a search on the name. 100% of the information I found told me I was correct in getting rid of the caller.
The Police Protective Fund also seems to have several offices, most of them apparently mail drops. A website called the BBB [Better Business Bureau] Wise Giving Alliance, that reports on the legitimacy of national charities, stated that this organization had not provided them with current information about its finances, programs, and governance despite their official repeated requests. The alliance had addresses for the Police Protective Fund in Texas and Washington, D.C.
Although the U.S. Dept. of the Treasury has allowed this organization 501(c)3 status as a non-profit, apparently our government does not concern itself with how much of the money collected actually goes to charity. An email to Kimberly Haddix of the the Missouri Attorney General's office regarding how much this organization reports that it spends on fund-raising costs so far has not been answered. The Missouri Attorney General's office publicizes a list of charities online and the Police Protective Fund is on it. However, it seems that the State also has nothing in place to monitor the names on the list.
I brought the matter to the attention of Kevin Lindsey, chief of the Joplin Police Dept. He said that to his knowledge his department never has received any benefits from the Police Protective Fund. He also implied that he didn't consider it legitimate.