Chief Rex Mueller. (SCPD photo)

The Sioux City Police Department is warning the public about a group called the National Police and Trooper Association after it contacted the police chief.

Officer Valerie Rose says the legitimacy of the group cannot be verified. “It claims to help law enforcement families but when you google it you can see out there that it looks like it’s fraudulent and we can’t verify its legitimacy on it,” Rose says. She says they do know that local law enforcement is not being helped by the group.

Rose rose says this is the time of year when scammers try to take advantage of people being in a giving holiday spirit. “They happen all throughout the year every day it’s just an ongoing thing but of course, they do tend to take advantage of the holiday spirit and the generosity that people are feeling during this time of the year they’ll try to pull on those heartstrings to get money, unfortunately,” she says.

Rose says they always advise you to take the time to verify online what the organization is and if you know they are local or otherwise legitimate. “Get on there, Google it, check their ratings check and see if there are any news stories that have already been done that are warning people that they are a scam,” Rose says. “See if there are any complaints against them claiming that they are fraudulent. You can check with the Better Business Bureau. You can also get online and you can check the Federal Trade Commission.”

If you do decide to donate, be suspicious of how they want you to pay them. “If it’s a scam, they’ll try to pressure you. They’ll tell you that you need to act immediately and then they’ll tell you weird ways to pay them,” she says. “We always advise never pay by gift card or wire transfer or cryptocurrency those right there are red flags if they’re trying to get you to donate using kind of a strange or an odd, uncommon means a way to pay.”

She says these scams primarily use the telephone to contact you, but scammers may also use email, text messages, social media, or U.S. Mail. Rose says Chief Rex Mueller immediately recognized it might be a scam and checked it out.

(By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)

Radio Iowa