Police warn public of new scam

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Scammers trying to collect on behalf of KSP

By Lisa King

Police are cautioning people to beware of a new scam going around—telephone solicitations on behalf of Kentucky State Police.

“Citizens throughout the Commonwealth should be on guard for telephone solicitations requesting donations for the benefit of the Kentucky State Police,” said Lt. David Jude, commander of the KSP Media Relations Branch.

“The agency has received numerous reports from individuals throughout the state regarding efforts to raise funds for the families of fallen troopers or to purchase drug dogs for schools.

“These calls are not authorized by the Kentucky State Police and they should be reported to the nearest state police post as soon as possible.”

Jude said the agency’s Electronic Crimes Branch is conducting an investigation. He said the Kentucky State Police Professional Association, a separate organization consisting of KSP troopers and retirees, occasionally conducts fundraising efforts, but it is not involved in such activities at this time.

Shelby County Sheriff Mike Armstrong and Shelbyville Police Chief Robert Schutte both said they have not heard lately of any incidences of such scams in Shelby County, but they have in the past.

“A few years ago, there was a scam going around when somebody was trying to collect money on behalf of deputy sheriffs,” Armstrong said. “They even called my house.”

Armstrong added that the only entity that solicits donations on behalf of his office is the Kentucky Sheriff’s Association for a boys and girls summer camp.

Schutte said no organization he knows of solicits money for his department.

“The state FOP may solicit, I don’t know, but we do not,’ he said.

They said the only legitimate soliciting being conducted at this time is for the Crusade For Children, which is this weekend.

Shelby County Fire Chief Bobby Cowherd said that he hopes this scam does not deter people from donating to the Crusade. He adds that most people who donate know whom they’re dealing with and the fund-raising methods the organization employs.

“I can’t speak for other fire departments, but I feel comfortable saying that I do not believe anybody is soliciting for the Crusade by phone,” he said.

Cowherd said that personnel soliciting for the Crusade door-to-door will either be in a fire department vehicle or be wearing a Crusade T-shirt.

“If anyone has any concerns, they can call us,” he said, a suggestion echoed by Simpsonville Fire Chief Walter Jones.

“They can feel free to call us anytime,” he said.

Kentucky State Police officials say that scammers have been calling throughout the entire state but warn that everyone should be on guard. They offer the following tips to reduce the risk of telephone fraud: ee

§       When in doubt, ask for more information in writing. ee

§       Never feel obligated to provide your credit card number over the phone.

§       Ask questions such as “How much of the donation will go directly to the charity as opposed to paying for administrative costs?” The fewer questions the caller can answer, the less likely it is legitimate.

§       Ask for a call-back number or website address so you can research the organization and contact them later. ee

§       Hang up if a caller offers to send a messenger to your home to pick up cash or a check. And

§       Contact KSP at 502-227-2221.