Texans should be wary of any private charitable solicitation by a telemarketer that appears to be on behalf of the Department of Public Safety. DPS is funded by tax dollars and will never call your home or business to solicit donations. DPS has received many complaints over the years from citizens complaining about rudeness and high-pressure tactics used by callers representing organizations who take advantage of the department’s good reputation by using our name and/or logo--oftentimes in conjunction with the untimely death of a state trooper or other peace officer.
Some of these organizations include in their names terms such as, “Texas Rangers,” “State Troopers,” “Texas Highway Patrol,” or “Department of Public Safety.” While some current or former employees may be members of some of these organizations on their own time, these groups are not affiliated with DPS, nor do they represent the department. Private organizations cannot use names, symbols or statements that are similar to those used by the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Rangers or other police agencies in a manner that is intended to confuse or mislead a person being solicited. Violations are criminal offenses and punishable by a fine of up to $4,000, a jail term up to one year, or both. The Department will vigorously pursue criminal charges and convictions against groups or individuals who misuse our name, logos or other items.
DPS advises citizens not to give money to these organizations, as the funds are not likely to go to the causes claimed. Many of these organizations provide only a small percentage of their donations for charitable causes, with the vast majority of the donations being used for the organization’s administrative and operational purposes. There is also a lack of public accountability and transparency by many of these organizations.
Some of these organizations provide official-looking decals resembling official DPS affiliation, with the suggestion that placing them on personal vehicles may somehow keep an individual from receiving a traffic citation from law enforcement. No sticker will keep you from receiving a citation if you have violated Texas traffic laws. Our state's commissioned officers routinely ignore these deceptive window stickers.
Do not be misled by the unscrupulous tactics used by telemarketers to solicit donations for these organizations. If you are contacted by a group you believe is misrepresenting itself as part of the Texas Department of Public Safety, we encourage you to contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Texas Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-621-0508.
Allan B. Polunsky
Member, Public Safety Commission
If you have been contacted by an organization that you believe is misrepresenting itself, you can contact the Texas Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-621-0508.