Columbia County Sheriff's Office warns of phone solicitations scam

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Fla. - The Columbia County Sheriff's Office said it has been contacted by several concerned citizens about phone calls they have been receiving soliciting donations for the Sheriff's Office.

The solicitor is representing the Fraternal Order of Police from Jacksonville and stating the monies collected will be given to the Sheriff's Office.

"This is completely false. The FOP is a labor organization representing individual law enforcement officers," the Sheriff's Office said in a news release. "Your state, county and local law enforcement agencies are publicly funded and will never solicit donations from the community. A fraternal law enforcement organization may state that any donations they receive will benefit the agencies; however, none of this money is returned to our local law enforcement agencies."

Deputies said, however, the Florida Sheriff's Youth Ranches and the Florida Sheriff's Association are endorsed charitable causes by the Sheriff's Office and may send residents a packet by mail but will never solicit funds via phone.

"Sheriff Mark Hunter does not endorse nor approve of anyone soliciting money on behalf of the Sheriff's Office," the news release reads. "Again, your Sheriff's Office is publicly funded."

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