Charity and Police Magazine Advertising SCAMS - Govt

By : Administrator
Published 28th March 2011 |
Read latest comment - 14th September 2018

As regulars may know, I tend to get very anal about dubious ropey so called magazine advertising for schools and various emergency services.

Unfortunately it's big business, and to be blunt, it's mainly due to gullible or non streetwise business owners.

Now in the interests of political correctness, no doubt, in amongst all of the scammers that seem to congregate around the North West of England, there is a genuine marketing firm that does actually produce a large circulation hard copy magazine, and does pass funds onto the emergency services, and doesn't try and trick you into taking out an advert

So, any new business owner that hasn't come across this type of sales tactic before, then please toughen up and think before you agree to anything. Especially from a cold call!

Spend 1 minute and do some Google research!

Here is a great set of guidelines from a UK Government Site:


Danger Signs

Be very wary of anyone cold calling you asking you to place an advertisement in a Wall Planner, Diary, Children’s Fun Book, Drug Awareness Book, Magazine for Emergency Services Personnel, Guide or other publication.

They usually claim to be calling on behalf of or associated with a charity who will receive a donation or free books for resale. Alternatively they may be claiming to be from one of the emergency services or promising to distribute their magazine to an audience such as off duty emergency services personnel.

Do’s and Dont’s

DON’T agree to place an advert over the telephone unless you are absolutely happy with the publisher with whom you are dealing and what you are being offered.

DON’T speak to them unless you’ve got time to ask all the questions you want.

DON’T agree to something to get rid of them – you could be making a binding agreement.

DON’T take their word for it that you have placed an order previously or that someone in your organisation has agreed to take an order– this is a ploy used by some companies to trick you.

DO make it clear in ALL telephone calls that you are NOT placing an order – they often record the second “confirmation” phone
call – this is carefully worded to sound like you are agreeing to the order even if you have just requested further information.

DO insist on seeing written details and a copy of the publisher's full terms and conditions before placing an order.

DO ask them some detailed questions about the publication (a suggested list of questions is below).

DO get details including the number of any charity mentioned and check this with the Charity Commission at The Charity Commission for England and Wales .

DO get them to send you an example of a publication they have produced with details of its circulation – if they refuse DON’T agree to go any further.

DO make a record of all contact with these companies – time, date of calls, person you spoke to, what they said etc.

DO make sure all your staff know about this advice on dealing with these cold callers and to be aware of unsolicited invoices.

DON’T feel guilty – there are other ways of giving to charity.

If in doubt DO find your LOCAL Trading Standards at Trading Standards Institute - Home page .

Questions you should ask - but only if you’re interested in placing an advertisement

  • What is your name and contact number?
  • Where did you get my telephone number/ address from?
  • What is the name / address of the company / organisation you are calling from?
  • What is the name, address, and telephone number of the company producing the publication?
  • What organisation is the publication produced for?
  • If this is a charity, get details of the number and check it with the Charity Commission.
  • If this is an emergency service get the details of which one in which area.
  • Who is the contact at that organisation?
  • How does the charity or emergency service benefit?
  • What proportion of my fee goes to the charity / emergency service?
  • What is the name of the publication?
  • What type of publication is it?
  • When will it be published?
  • How many copies of the version containing my advert will be produced?
  • How and where will these be distributed?
  • How can I get hold of a copy?

Steve Richardson
Gaffer of My Local Services
My Local Services | Me on LinkedIn
Thanks for the advice

Mark Pitts

Steve, this is great to see this. I have to admit many years ago, I did get caught, supposedly supporting the police with their child protection scheme.
Of course it was the magazine sales guy inferring that he was representing the police. trying to make you feel guily and it was your duty.
Once bitten!!


Yes, these b******s have called me each year. They start off thanking me for our previous contributions, so straight away I know it's a con.

Jog on, scammers!

Holborn Direct Mail
020 8683 7155

cheers guys, it's my number one pet hate! Laughing aside, just had 3 call's this morning. "Hi I'm calling you from the Fire Service"... course you are my little commission only money grabbing little toe rag.

We've set honey trap listings and got hit time and time again, we've collected information for Trading Standards, and worked with a genuine charity whose name was being used, but didn't receive a penny! But as fast as they get closed down, they re-open as something else.

The root cause is unfortunately you and me. I fell for it myself a few years ago, paying for some awful advert which allegedly was going to help buy school books.

Because so many of us are a soft touch, it has become big business. Tug at a few heartstrings, let you do your bit for charity, whilst providing you with a service, ie marketing your business, all sounds pretty reasonable.

Instead, you get a worthless advert in a magazine no ones ever seen in the public domain, and very pushy aggressive payment terms the minute you question anything.

Until this scam is publicised across all business channels, networks, forums etc, it will continue to be easy pickings for those with no concious

That said, I'm not anti cold calling, although I'm not a fan, it does serve a genuine business need. All I ask is that no one ever agree's to anything from an initial cold call.

Spending 1 minute doing research on Google can save you a lot of hassle. If you're happy, then call them back

Steve Richardson
Gaffer of My Local Services
My Local Services | Me on LinkedIn

I was contacted by a chap on a 0845 number claiming ot be linked to the police, offering me a place on a 12 month wall chart that was basically advertising approved businesses run by people that do not have criminal records... He actually said, "I'm pleased to inform you that you do not have a criminal record!?
I can't say what happened after that as I'd hung up.

Paul Green

forum avatarGuest
9th September 2011 3:28 PM
We were made aware of this type of scam about 1month ago.

A friend of ours actually got scammed.

It was people pretending to be the local police authority, offering them a place within their magazine (advertising space) which of course is entirely fictional.

Sadly these things happen and there are people out there that will "fall" for it, but that's not their fault

Sadly these things happen and there are people out there that will "fall" for it, but that's not their fault

Sorry Mike I disagree. It is their fault, and anyone else (including me) thats fallen for it.

It's their fault for being naive. Just need to remember one simple rule, never ever ever agree to anything from a cold call.

Same goes for a cold call Mobile phone upsell to some crappy bogus advertising scam. Spend a couple of mins and do some research.

Ask them for a number that you can call back, if they get funny with you or hard sell, or tell you this offer won't be valid, then just put the phone down.

Until everyone starts doing this, these scams and pressure sales tactics will go on and on and on......

Steve Richardson
Gaffer of My Local Services
My Local Services | Me on LinkedIn

I get these calls on a daily basis.. they say that im talented and instantly i know its a dodgy call.. same thing with blocked numbers..

I now just ask will this cost me money from the start and then just say sorry not interested.

I hate answering my phone from all these calls.

And these types of scams make it harder for businesses like seo or online marketing to market themselves


forum avatarGuest
12th September 2011 9:27 AM
Sorry Mike I disagree. It is their fault, and anyone else (including me) thats fallen for it.

It's their fault for being naive. Just need to remember one simple rule, never ever ever agree to anything from a cold call.

Well, these people can be very convincing, forceful and aggressive, it's not their fault that there are these type of people in this world.
But yes, being naive in the first place doesn't really help your situation, hehe.

I would have to disagree on the cold calling rule though! We work with many SME's who utilise cold calling for bringing in new clients and getting their business name out there a little more.
The important thing is you need a representative on the phone who isn't going to give your company a bad name or be pushy and sales-y (is that a word?).

Obviously though, if someone rings called George from Nigeria, telling you there's a pigeon in your account and asking for your sort code and account number to get into your account to get it out... that's where it gets a bit dodgy!