Before You Donate Money to a Nonprofit, Do Your Research

One viewer asked us to investigate if a letter he got was legitimate, or a scam

LUBBOCK, TX - Eduardo Martinez’s father was a deputy, so when a telemarketer called asking him to donate to the Coalition of Police and Sheriff's, he decided he would.

"I was trying to help. You know whenever I can, I try to donate,"  Martinez said.

When the letter arrived in the mail asking him to fulfill his donation pledge, it didn’t look right to Martinez. When he called to make sure it was legitimate, there was no answer.

"About after the third time, I figured it wasn't legit, because usually when it's legit people answer the phone when you call them,”  he said. He then called the Lubbock County Sheriff’s office and reached out to

The Better Business Bureau has records for the Coalition of Police and Sheriff’s, and the organization is registered as an actual non-profit with the Secretary of State.

A quick online search turned up the company’s website, which lists a working number with a Houston area code. Martinez, however, was relying on the phone number listed in the letter, because he doesn't use the computer.

The Lubbock County Sheriff's Office says scammers have a target audience.

"They like to look at people whose primary means of communication is telephone and mail,” Sheriff Kelly Rowe said.

While this instance was not a scam, Rowe says Martinez did the right thing.

“Do your research, follow up,” Martinez said. “Do your homework, be diligent, and understand that in 2017 the vast majority of these coming are a fraudulent scam.” spoke with an administrative official at the Coalition of Police and Sheriff’s, but has not heard back from them with an official statement.

If the person soliciting money claims to be law enforcement, Sheriff Rowe suggested calling the police or sheriff’s office. If you believe you have been contacted by a potential scammer, the Attorney General has a Consumer Protection Hotline and the Secretary of State has a list of registered nonprofits.

CLICK HERE for more information on the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline. CLICK HERE for more information on how the Secretary of State’s office can help determine if a nonprofit is registered.

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