Are robo-calls from the 'New York Police Association' (aka 4 other names) a scam?

New York Police Association aka the New York Police Organization aka the Police Association of New York aka the NYS Association of PBAs aka NY Assocation of PBA Fundraising. The one thing they will admit... 'at least 10% of your donation goes towards police departments'... which means they're keeping about 90% of any money you give them

If you've ever received an automated fundraising call with an automated voice claiming to be 'Michael Forman' or 'Paul Wallace' or 'Stephen Durm', congratulations, you've somehow managed to wind up on the robo-call list of the New York Police Association. Or the New York Police Organization. Or the Police Association of New York. Or the NYS Association of PBAs.

The latest calls come from 631-964-9293 which shows on caller ID as Deer Park NY. The call is automated and uses voice recognition to attempt to seem like you are talking to a real person, but fails often during calls. It will sometimes leave a message if you are not there. If you call back, you will also get dumped right into the automated 'Michael Forman' message setup.

At no point during the calls to my private number (on the Do Not Call list, of course) was I given an option to be placed on their do not call list. The same occurs when you call them back.

By telling the automated system I wanted to make a donation, I was finally able to connect with an actual person. Unfortunately, it was within their donations department. They only have the ability to take a donation. But, they will give you the address for the organization as 111 Washington Ave Suite 404 Albany NY 12210 and the phone number as 866-484-9607. The number appears to only go to an answering service.

Searching for the address online yields the NYS Association of PBAs doing business as Police Association of New York. Interestingly, neither the automated 'Michael Forman' message nor the woman reached in their donation center gave either of those as the name of the organization. They gave "NY Police Organization" and "NY Police Association" respectively.  The website linked above gives another phone number as 518-465-1141.  Calling that reaches an automated answering system for what claims to be the "NY Assocation of PBA Fundraising". Yet another name.

Searching around online for any of the above yields quite a few complaints of robo-calls and inability to speak to anyone to remove themselves from the calls. The calls appear to happen rather often, maybe weekly by some people's explanations. Some people report actually receiving a response when asking about what percentage of donations actually goes to help officers. The number quoted was "at least 10%". I was unable to get anyone to give me any financials for the organization.

So, that's what I've been able to find out. Do you think this organization is a scam, using the good-will towards officers to make money for themselves, and making illegal robo-calls to the unsuspecting public? Personally, I never trust an organization that appears to be unsure of its own name.

UPDATE 2015-03-26: It seems that the NYPD is aware of organizations like this and they aren't authorized to represent them. "The only approved fundraising organization for the NYPD is the New York City Police Foundation, Inc. The Police Foundation does NOT use telemarketers."

UPDATE 2015-06-04: The company is still calling despite 3 requests not to be called. They're still using the robo-calling system with voice recognition and lying about it being a live operator. They did admit to be calling from Residential Programs, Inc. on 12 Christopher Way Suite 200 in Eatontown, NJ, 07724. Their phone number is listed as 866-609-1881 with an email address of contact@rpinj.com.

UPDATE 2015-09-11: The company is calling from another new number: 631-450-8970.  The same voice recognition system with pre-recorded responses.  Two separate individuals lied and claimed it was a real live person that placed the call and originally spoke on this called.  They claimed again they would place me on their do not call list though that seems unlikely given the fact that they told me the same thing with the previous 3 phone calls.

UPDATE: 2015-09-28: Yet another number to add to the list of blocked numbers: 718-475-6240. And all the more reason to ask the question... if they're not scammers, then why do they keep calling despite being asked to be placed on their do not call list? And why do they keep spawning new numbers once I block their old ones? It also seems they disconnected their old phone number of 866-484-9607.

If you ever get a call from this company, be sure to file a Do Not Call complaint.