SIKESTON -- Recent complaints about telemarketers soliciting the area for donations are under investigation by the Sikeston Department of Public Safety.
DPS Director Drew Juden said according to the complaints, the telemarketers have identified themselves as being from the Public Awareness Office or the Police Detective's Association. They are apparently asking for donations for the Police Protection Fund in which they money is to be used for officers killed in the line of duty. In some instances, this organization may lead the public to believe the money donated is being collected for local police agencies.
Juden said he has had no contact with the company and the solicitation is being done without DPS consent. Juden urges anyone who receives calls or telephone solicitations such as this to use caution.
Sikeston DPS investigators have looked into the complaints with the assistance of the Missouri Attorney General's Office, which is currently checking into this and several other complaints regarding the company. The attorney general's office stated the "No Call List" for Missouri is a benefit to the citizens of Missouri; however there are still some organizations that can solicit funds via the telephone. They did advise the federal No call List may have more protections regarding this type of activity.
Information from the attorney general's office suggested some solicit corporations keep upward to 80 percent of the money donated, only giving 20 percent or so the intended recipients. There is little to no way to monitor the company to see how much money is given away or how much is kept for them, officials said.
Anyone who wishes to help their community would be better protected by going to the organization personally and ask about donating money, whether they are organizations like police departments, fire departments, sheriff's associations, hospitals, Red Cross or other civic organization, Juden said.
The attorney general's office urges those who believes they are being victimized by telemarketers or suspect fraud to call 1-800-8222 to make a formal complaint.