Don’t fall for phony firefighter fundraisers

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According to the City of Canyon Lake, another phone scam is circulating the area, this time it involves firefighters. Residents have been receiving calls that may appear to sound worthy but are scams.

With the recent fires in California, phone scammers are calling residents and asking them to support their local volunteer firefighters with a donation.

That well-intentioned donation appears to be a scam from an organization called “Volunteer Firefighters of America,” an organization that is non-existent. More than likely, the donation will end up in the caller’s pocket rather than helping those responsible for public safety.

What should you do when you get a call asking for a donation to a cause you care about? Don’t ever agree to give out any of your information over the phone. If the caller is pressuring you, don’t give in. Instead, find out the caller’s name and the name of the organization they represent. Hang up and call the organization directly. That way, you know all the money is going to local firefighters and not the scammer.

The National Consumers League’s National Fraud Information Center says beware of organizations with names that are similar to legitimate groups.

Fraud.org, a project of the National Consumers League, offers the following tips to help avoid being a victim of fraud:

  • Know who you are dealing with.
  • Pay the safest way.
  • Guard your personal information.
  • Stay safe online.
  • Be cautious about unsolicited emails.
  • Resist pressure.
  • Don’t believe promises of easy money.
  • Fully understand the offer.
  • Get off credit marketing lists.
  • Check your credit report regularly.
  • Be cautious about offers for credit monitoring services.
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