The Utah Division of Consumer Protection is advising Utahns to be wary of unregistered charitable organizations that have been soliciting five Wasatch Front counties particularly hard for donations.
Meanwhile, three Salt Lake police organizations have issued a formal statement disavowing any connection with a telephone solicitation being conducted by the Utah Alliance of Police Officers.A.M. Connole, president of the Police Mutual Aid Association, and Elden Tanner, president of the Salt Lake Police Association, said neither of their organizations is affiliated with the soliciting organization, and "we do not know what, if any, charitable purposes might be served by UAPO."
Connole said city police departments have received complaints about the solicitors.
"The callers have been aggressive . . . , he said. "One time a woman had said she was supportive of the police but didn't wish to participate. The caller told her that if she was really supportive, she ought to help out. The implication is there would be a lack of service if she didn't participate.
"Another time, a person said he would like to help out but didn't have any funds at the time. The caller told him he could post-date a check. Post-dating checks is illegal. We would never ask anyone to do that," he said.
The organizations that have caught the attention of the Consumer Protection Division have been operating primarily in Weber, Cache, Salt Lake, Summit and Utah counties, said division director Dixie Minson.
She said the organizations all bear names similar to their registered counterparts and have been sending literature to Utah households asking for donations. The solicitation includes a follow-up telephone call, asking residents to send money to an address in Topeka, Kan.
Minson said the solicitations, which have been made statewide, are coming from the Cancer Fund of America of Atlanta; the American Heart Disease; the National Animal Protection of Tulsa, Okla.; the Walker Cancer Research Institute of Washington, D.C.; and the Pacific West Cancer Fund of Seattle.
Minson said the charities, however, are not registered as such and are therefore in violation of the Utah Charitable Solicitation Act.
Before donating, she said, consumers should ask the solicitor the registration number and the percent of the donations actually going to the charitable cause.
Minson said consumers also should contact the Division of Consumer Protection before making a donation.