Knock, Knock! Who's There?
Word-to-the-Wise Warning about Fundraising
In a few weeks, door bells will be ringing non-stop as Trick-or-Treaters hit the street for Halloween, but the Town of Clayton would like to make everyone aware that there’s currently some unauthorized door-bell ringing going on in nearby communities. Several Fire Departments in Johnston County have received reports that there are individuals going door-to-door collecting money for fire department “fundraisers”. This activity has been witnessed in nearby Wilson’s Mills, Thanksgiving, and Selma fire districts. The people allege that they are taking money on behalf of the fire department, but the departments have not authorized this activity, nor have they received any of the money.
While there have not been any reports in Clayton so far, town officials would like you to know that neither our Fire Department nor the Police Department EVER go door-to-door for fundraising or even make phone calls asking for money. Please be on the lookout for this type of activity in Clayton, and if you have any similar occurrences at your home or business, please call 911. If you’d like more information on the recent incidents in the county, please call the Johnston County Sheriff’s Department.
We should note that you may occasionally receive requests from organizations that are unofficially associated with our police and fire departments, for example groups like Special Olympics, Wives Behind the Badge or the Clayton Firefighters Association. Although not collected on the department’s behalf, these groups are supported by our police and fire department. If you are solicited by a group like this, below are a few tips from the Federal Trade Commission you should consider before giving:
• Ask fund-raisers to identify themselves and to name the organization for which they’re soliciting.
• Ask how your contribution will be used. Ask what percentage of your contribution will go to the charitable cause and if your contribution will be used locally.
• Call the organization or your local police or fire department to verify a fundraiser’s veracity when mentioning an organization or department. If the claim cannot be verified, report the solicitation to your local law enforcement officials.
• Ask if your contribution is tax-deductible. Make your check payable to the official name of the group or charity. Avoid cash gifts: Cash can be lost or stolen.
• Be wary if a fundraiser suggests you’ll receive special treatment for donating. For example, no legitimate fundraiser would guarantee that you won’t be stopped for speeding if you have a police organization’s decal in your car window. Don’t feel intimidated about declining to give. A caller who uses intimidation tactics is likely to be a scam artist. Report the call to your local law enforcement officials.
• Police and Fire are funded by the Town. Supplemental funds and donations may be received from some groups that do fundraising, but basic police and fire operations are not dependent upon solicited funds.
• Do not donate if you are uncomfortable doing so.
For more information on public safety fundraising, please visit http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt016.shtm